Some city leaders not present for awarding of police grant

While receiving a $6.5-million federal grant was a big announcement for Cincinnati, several city council members were not there when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the official presentation.

The list of no shows included Roxanne Qualls, Chris Bortz, Wayne Lippert, Amy Murray, Charlie Winburn and Leslie Ghiz.

"We knew it was happening," said Ghiz, "But we didn't get a formal invitation...or I didn't get a formal invitation, but more importantly...I just have a lot going on this close to an election and running a law practice. It's just hard to break away during the day and get out for something like this."

Some council members say they received little or no notice about Holder's visit.

"I don't believe I received an invitation, but I do have some private sector responsibilities that I had to attend to so its unlikely that I would have been able to attend," said councilman Wayne Lippert.

Charlie Winburn's office says they were only notified a few hours ahead of time, and then there are situations where city business has to take a back seat.

"I had a sick child at home and I was also doing a lunch time keynote speech for the Cincinnati YMCA youth group," said councilwoman Amy Murray.

Besides, they say, the Attorney General's visit was just a formality, but what really matters is that the city is getting federal help to ensure public safety.

"This grant is going to help immensely. It's a significant amount of money...We're one of the highest awards in the Midwest for those dollars, it helps preserve police officers and that's always good news," said councilman Chris Bortz.

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