Critics say recent council vote gives mayor more power

Mayor Mark Mallory
Mayor Mark Mallory

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The new, Democrat-led Cincinnati City Council has voted to remove a clause that requires the mayor to place an item on the agenda within 90 days. That means any item passed by a council committee doesn't have to appear on that agenda if the mayor doesn't support it.

Councilman Christopher Smitherman voted against the measure, saying "The procedure change is against the charter, in my opinion. I think it's against the law."

Smitherman is an Independent and says the vote by council Democrats allows the mayor to hold up legislation. Smitherman says it's just plain politics.

"This is a major, major grab for power," he said.

Some Republicans like Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Alex Triantafilou has some serious concerns about the change. Triantafilou says, "It's certainly a big deal. It's a pocket veto that's not really contemplated in the city charter. We think it's outside the bounds of what's appropriate and it's a power grab by the mayor."

Smitherman says he's even considering legal action, but Councilman PG Sittenfeld says that may be a bit over the top.

In our commitment to balanced news, we talked with Chris Seelbach who is in favor of the change.

"It's not exactly a pocket veto. Six members of council can suspend the rules at any time and if the mayor was holding something off that we wanted to put on the calendar....we could suspend the rules and still get it on so it's not exactly a veto."

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson says the bottom line is that now the process of getting things done will become more efficient and she insists the change won't thwart the will of council.

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