The early review seems promising. The Comet acknowledged some initial concerns -- lack of planning experience, lack of a public interview -- but ignored a more serious issue with respect to Mr. Burkley's appointment. Plus, anyone chosen by the boy mayor is assigned two strikes before approaching the batter's box.
From a sketchy beginning, however, Mr. Burkley is reported to have acquitted himself smartly -- engaged, sensible, inquisitive -- during the commission meeting. I have found no report of whether the conflict issue regarding Mr. Burkley's vote on a Rooney-Continental development application -- his spouse is employed by the Rooney law firm -- was mentioned, let alone reasoned, publicly. Then again, I still have not found any report, from the P-G or any source, acknowledging that the mayor, after cleaning house because a land giveaway involving the Rooneys and a sign giveaway favoring another campaign contributor were not rubber-stamped, appointed two people whose households depend on the Rooney law firm for funding.
Educated, articulate, energetic, inquisitive . . . it is hard to figure what the city administration liked about Mr. Burkley. Setting aside the submerged tie to a well-connected entity that regularly seeks favors from the city, Mr. Burkley has generated hope that he will be a good addition to the Planning Commission. I therefore feel somewhat bad about the first hit on a Google images search for "Kirk Burkley," so I am temporarily retiring the original photo and using another.
UPDATE: A comment indicates that Mr. Burkley has been a member of the Planning Commission for a year, and that his recent appointment was to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The city website indicates Mr. Burkley's current membership on both panels. I
UPPERDATE: Why Mr. Burkley is so favored by the mayor -- we were informed that the administration received a stack of impressive resumes, yet Mr. Burkley snags one of two open spots at Zoning while keeping his Planning position, and another Rooney-connected lawyer gets the second seat -- strikes me as worthy of exploration. Plus, I am still wondering why Mr. Burkley's wife was spotted by Bob Mayo inexplicably scurrying through service corridors (shepherded by the mayor's Director of Policy) to avoid questions when she was a member of the Ethics Board. Plus plus, so far there is no evidence that anyone acknowledged, let alone resolved, the issue of whether Mr. Burkley should vote on a seven- or eight-figure proposal advanced by a group led by a name partner at the law firm that issues paychecks that fund his household. I want to believe Mr. Burkley is something better than just another warm bulb in the mayor's indictment incubator, and The Comet's report generates hope, but I believe more information is needed to reach a reliable conclusion. I'm not reaching for that puppet picture yet, but I am keeping it within reach. Perhaps one of the Bernstein Law Firm or Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney employees who visit this site could provide insight?