Black leaders back city manager

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Cincinnati NAACP, other civil rights groups and an organization that represents black officers are supporting City Manager Harry Black.

The group issued a statement early Saturday, one day after Mayor John Cranley asked Black to resign after Black pushed out the second highest-ranking Cincinnati police official without explanation to the mayor, council or the public.

The statement is from Councilman Wendell Young, Senator Cecil Thomas, Sentinel Police Association, Cincinnati NAACP, Greater Cincinnati National Action Network, Cincinnati Black United Front and Black Agenda:

The City of Cincinnati has a Charter form of government with certain powers
granted to the City Manager. In the charter, Article IV - (2) states "Neither the
mayor, the council nor any of its committees or members shall interfere in any
way with the appointment or removal of any of the officers and employees in the
administrative service." Article IV (3) provides for the City Manager "to make all
appointments and removals in the administrative and executive service ..."

Cranley asked the city manager to quit after he abruptly forced out Executive Assistant Chief David Bailey Thursday.

Black told the 31-year veteran to leave or be fired, according to the police union president.

The city manager and the chief were upset when after a draft of police overtime audit was leaked to the media earlier this week.

The audit revealed millions of dollars spent in overtime and found "intentional actions to maximize compensation" in the department.  The chief was given a copy of it in early January.

Black was so upset about the leak, he called for federal prosecutors to investigate what he described as a "rogue element" that is corrupt in the police department in an effort to undermine the police chief's authority.

The city manager also claimed some police employees don't want to work with him and the chief because they are black and accused them of "insubordination."

It's not clear who Black was talking about. He also has not publicly accused anyone of leaking the audit or being racist.

Bailey's settlement agreement has a clause preventing both sides from disparaging each other. Black did not give the reason for the ouster before signing the document despite the mayor urging him to be transparent.

Related story: Top cop out but taxpayers keep paying in $400K settlement

The city manager has the authority to fire the police chief and second-in-command, Young noted.

Cranley, on the other hand, does not have the power to push out the city manager. That takes a majority of council and it appeared Saturday the mayor did not have the votes.

What's more Young said, the city just gave Black a raise and praised him for doing a good job running the city. And now he should resign?

"John Cranley has a lot of explaining to do," Young said. "This is typical John Cranley."

Young said the mayor has a pattern of attacking black leadership including Jeffrey Blackwell, the former police chief; Willie Carden, former parks director; Tony Parrott, former director of the Metropolitan Sewer District and Dwight Tillery, former mayor.

Cranley scheduled to deliver the opening remarks at the city's annual community summit at Xavier University Saturday morning.

But he but did not appear.

Councilman David Mann spoke in his place.

When Black arrived at the summit, he declined comment to the press.

Later Saturday morning, Cranley's office put out a statement affirming his support of the police chief .But it oddly did not mention the city manager.

"Mayor Cranely is out of town for a special meeting of the US Conference of Mayors but I can confirm he fully supports Chief Isaac and always has. Last evening, the Mayor and Chief Isaac spoke and both acknowledged that they've had a mutually supportive relationship for years and that both are committed to the same going forward. Mayor Cranley has recently been named the chairman of the Police Chiefs and Mayors Task Force for the US Conference of Mayors.  Chief Isaac and Mayor Cranley have been working together for months organizing a meeting of the task force April 9-10, which will feature former Chief Bratton and David Kennedy. The Mayor and the Chief will be at the conference together, presenting together about Cincinnati's wonderful record of community policing."

It's not clear when or even if Cincinnati's nine council members will vote on the resignation.

At least one admitted in a radio interview Saturday he is confused by all the recent turn of events.

"I have gotten lost in a lot of this," Greg Landsman told Mike Allen on 700 WLW.

But, Landsman said, police overtime issues need to be addressed.

He also expressed concerned Black settled with Bailey for $400,000 without consulting or explaining it first to city council.

Landsman said he realizes the city manager has a job to do, but council has to be included in those decisions.

He said he told Black "you gotta pull us in, we gotta be informed what's going on."

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