Sources: Mayor asks city manager resign

Sources: Mayor asks city manager resign

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Mayor John Cranley asked City Manager Harry Black to resign Friday afternoon, City Hall sources tell FOX19 NOW.

This comes after a week that saw Black force out the second highest-ranking official at the Cincinnati Police Department without the approval of the mayor or city council and allege racism in the upper ranks of the agency.

Cranley, who hired the city manager four years ago, only can recommend his termination, according to the city charter. Firing Black will require a majority approval from city council.

As of Friday night, sources said Cranley fell short of votes.

Cranley and Black did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

Most council members could not be reached or did not respond to requests for comment.

Two council members backed Black: David Mann and Wendell Young.

"It's a challenging position -- you've got to report to the community, to all sorts of interest groups, an elected mayor, and nine members of the council," Mann said. "I would not want that job. He would not have been hired unless he had not shown talent. He has done a good job.

"Has it been perfect? No. I don't know of anyone for 2,000 years who has done a perfect job."

Young said he had just come from a meeting at Black Agenda headquarters in Avondale that included members of several community activist groups including the Cincinnati NAACP, of which he is a board member, and the Sentinel Police Association, a group of black Cincinnati police officers.

Everyone agreed to support the city manager, he said,adding that the group would issue a statement Saturday - one that would ask Cranley to publicly explain himself at a community forum.

The city, Young noted, just gave Black a raise and praised him for doing a good job running the city.

"And now all of a sudden he should resign?" Young rhetorically asked. "John Cranley has some explaining to do."

Young described the move as "typical John Cranley." He said the mayor has a pattern of attacking black leadership that includes the former police chief, Jeffrey Blackwell, and Willie Cardin, the former parks director.

Cranley asking for Black's resignation capped off a tense week at City Hall and the Cincinnati Police Department.

  • A veteran female captain filed a sexual discrimination complaint Monday alleging she was being targeted for supporting the police chief, who is African-American
  • A draft of a police overtime audit was allegedly leaked to our news partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The audit revealed poor oversight and some employees intentionally maximizing compensation.
  • Black claimed racism in the top ranks of the police department by announcing a "rogue element" was corrupt in the department to undermine the chief's authority. He called for federal prosecutors to investigate. He also said some police employees don't want to work with him and the chief because they are African-American and accused them of "insubordination."
  • Without explanation, Black ousted Executive Assistant Police Chief David Bailey, a 31-year department veteran. He and Bailey signed a settlement estimated to be valued at about $400,00.m The contract requires both parties not to disparage each other, so the reason Bailey was forced out might not be revealed. Cranley opposed Black's decision and told Black in an email Thursday, before Black signed the settlement document, "Whatever happens, I believe the public will need to be told and why."

The police union president continued Friday to call on the city manager to say what Bailey did to warrant being forced out apparently without consulting anybody on council or the mayor.

"I know he is the chief operating officer of the city of Cincinnati but we are not talking about ordering a couple new garbage trucks or firing a probationary employee here," said Sgt. Dan Hils.

"We are talking about the number two person in the police department, a 30-year veteran, the senior-most colonel on the police department and he's being forced out, he's being given an ultimatum to leave that will the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and my question is: Why?"

Hils posted a farewell note on Facebook from Bailey to the rank and file.

"Please extend my thanks to all who have offered me support over the past few days. I know many are confused regarding my departure from CPD," Bailey wrote.

"I have to say I am equally confused but this sort of thing occurs when the political and police lines become blurred. That being said, I again want to extend my thanks to all our FOP members. I have enjoyed working with all of you and you must know I operated in the best interest of the Department and it's members.

"I will keep in touch and attend the meetings. Who knows Dan, maybe you and I may start agreeing on things again. Talk to you soon."

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