Bob Brady has hired a policy person.

Philadelphia mayoral candidate Brady, mindful that he's seen as less conversant in municipal governance issues than some of his four rivals, has tapped the head of the state board that oversees the city's finances to drive his campaign's public policy effort.

Lauri A. Kavulich is "a great lady and as smart as can be," Brady, a five-term congressman, said last night of his new policy director.

For six years, Kavulich has chaired the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, created by the state in 1991 to help stop Philadelphia's slide toward bankruptcy. The board screens and approves the city's annual budget and its five-year spending plan.

"Bob Brady is a hard guy to say 'no' to, and I think he has the leadership ability to get things done," Kavulich said last night. She said she resigned her PICA position on Monday.

In recent months, Kavulich, a compensation lawyer at a Philadelphia firm, has pushed for PICA to play a more influential role in framing financial issues facing the city.

Appointed to PICA in 1997 by state Senate Democrats, Kavulich, 42, serves with the backing of Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.). She met him through her husband, an accountant who worked with Fumo's former wife. Fumo has been perhaps Brady's biggest champion, publicly pushing him months ago to run in the May 15 Democratic primary.

Brady's move seems designed to respond to questions about his public-policy credentials. "I know a little bit about this stuff," he said, "even though people don't think I do."

For our continuing coverage of the mayor's race, including profiles of the candidates and a reporters' blog, go to http://go.philly.com/mayor.

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Contact staff writer Marcia Gelbart at 215-854-2338 or mgelbart@phillynews.com.