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Linda B. Burke resigns as LMSB Division Counsel.

Linda B. Burke, who served for three years as the first Division Counsel of the IRS's Large and Mid-Size Business Division, has ended her government service, and returned to Pittsburgh and the private sector. Formerly, the Director of Tax for Alcoa, Inc., Ms. Burke served as TEI's 1994-1995 International President, and was elected to honorary, membership in the Institute upon her retirement from Alcoa.

On July 10, Ms. Burke was honored at a reception held at LMSB Division Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Speakers included Assistant Treasury Secretary (Tax Policy) Pamela F. Olson, IRS Chief Counsel B. John Williams, and Cynthia J. Matson, Deputy LMSB Division Counsel, who moderated the ceremony. Also asked tv make remarks was Timothy McCormally, TEI's Executive Director. The text of his remarks follow:

Thank you, Cindy. My name is Timothy McCormally, and I'm here from the other TEI--Tax Executives Institute [not Treasury Executive Institute, in whose conference room we have gathered.]. I am delighted to be here today, as a friend of Linda Burke's and representative of TEI, to commemorate and honor her service as LMSB Division Counsel.

As I think of Linda's service, here at LMSB and as a member of Tax Executives Institute, I pulled out the dictionary, and I opened it up to the letter P. Why?

Well, it started out for a simple reason.... She's from Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

But then I flipped a few pages, and found the word professional. And I thought, Linda Burke is a consummate professional in every sense of the word. She's smart, analytical, ethical, and always prepared.

Turn a few pages back, and there's another appropriate word--practical. Linda's 20-plus years with Alcoa ... in the trenches of tax planning, policy, and administration, gives her a perspective that you can't find in any book or article and, quite candidly, you can't glean from a private practitioner's desk or an IRS office. Her practicality and her experience made her an invaluable addition to LMSB because she knew whereof she spoke, she understood the consequences of what LMSB was doing, and she could separate the legitimate concerns of taxpayers and their representatives from their, yes, occasion hyperbole and exaggeration.

Forward a page or two, and you find one of the most descriptive words for Linda--principled. She has a well-defined moral code, a focused sense of duty, and she calls them as she sees them, regardless of which side of the table she is sitting on. When she was active in TEI, I recall more than one tax director who griped about Linda's being too soft on, or "luvy-duvy" with, the IRS. My guess is that, at least once during her LMSB tenure, an IRS colleague may have thought she was the fox guarding the henhouse. From my vantage point, she was effective on both sides of the table because she brought an open mind and an appreciation of each side's legitimate objectives, as well as an ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, to every situation.

Let's switch from adjectives to nouns. Linda Burke is a pioneer. She was the first female president of TEI, which was pretty much a "good old boys" network when she joined in 1977. And after she broke TEI's glass ceiling, she mentored other female executives, including the women on the Institute's staff.

Linda pioneered the notion of taxpayer-IRS cooperation, serving as the first TEI representative on an IRS working group--involving taxpayers in the audit planning process, I believe--which garnered her the Assistant Commissioner (Exam)'s award. And internally at TEI, she pushed us to make the most of technology and thus led us into the Internet age with the creation of our own bulletin board system and then website.

Linda was a pioneer here at LMSB, too, where she championed the concept of embedding Counsel into the division. And as the first division counsel, she molded a position that is based on partnership--with LMSB personnel, Treasury, and importantly with taxpayers--full engagement, and transparency.

Pioneers, of course, have to have a sense of adventure and vision, and Linda did, not only in her professional life, but personally as well. Hence, when she moved to Washington to join LMSB, she and Tim adopted the personal goal of visiting as many of our top 100 restaurants as they could. (B. John, I'm not sure why Linda told you she was leaving, but I think it may have been because they made through the list.)

Another noun--especially appropriate for this town--Linda Burke is a patriot. Joining the IRS at a critical time, she brought her private sector expertise to the fledgling agency and sacrificed a tinge chunk of her personal life to a Pittsburgh-to-Washington commute--perhaps not as tiring as Larry Langdon's Palo Alto-to-Washington commute but more than most of us would endure--and the insatiable, sometimes thankless, demands of a government job. And that makes her family--Tim, Ryan, and Hannah patriots, too.

One last P word to describe Linda Burke--she's a real pal. I've had the pleasure of knowing her for almost 20 years, and she always has been thoughtful, caring, and unfailingly polite. But she was more than that: She was a trusted confidant, a supportive boss, a loyal friend.

Finally, let me mention a few P words that Linda is not ... political, polemical, pretentious. And, of course, she's not perfect. But Linda knows that, and like all successful people, she surrounded herself with top-flight colleagues, and she worked to minimize any shortcomings, including a severe hearing loss that would have cowed others into inactivity. Linda's fortitude and forthrightness, her good humor and quiet grace, her courage show all of us --in government or the private sector--that, despite the challenges they face, they can succeed and make a meaningful contribution.

So, as Linda completes this stage in her career and returns to Pittsburgh, I am honored to publicly thank her for her service and, on behalf of all my colleagues at TEI, wish her well.
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Title Annotation:IRS Large and Mid-Size Business Division
Publication:Tax Executive
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:989
Previous Article:Ray Rossi becomes TEI's President.
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