Battle lines drawn at City Hall over city manager

Battle lines drawn at City Hall over city manager

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mayor John Cranley returned to City Hall Tuesday after a quick trip out of state to attend a special meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as controversy erupted over his request for the city manager to resign.

Cranley and City Manager Harry Black have remained mum about each other since the mayor asked Black to resign in a meeting Friday afternoon.

Black declined to comment when approached by reporters inside city hall Tuesday. Cranley's office didn't respond to an interview request.

Sources: Mayor asks city manager to resign

The mayor asked the city manager who he hired four years ago to voluntarily leave after Black forced out the second highest-ranking official at the Cincinnati Police Department without consulting or informing him,  City Council or the public.

It would take at least five votes from city council to oust Black from his position, and it doesn't appear Cranley has enough support.Three councilmen, P. G. Sittenfeld, Wendell Young and David Mann, are publicly supporting Black, along with an influential group of African-American leaders and civil rights groups including the Cincinnati NAACP and Sentinel Police Association, a group that represents black Cincinnati police officers.

Black leaders back city manager

"It's obvious that Cranley wants the manager gone. I don't think he has the votes and that's the reason he's kind of running around like a chicken with his head cut off, trying to round up the votes to get him dismissed," Young said Monday.

A fourth, Greg Landsman, who was elected in November, said in a live radio interview over the weekend he was confused, though he has instructed Black to keep council better updated.

Jeff Pastor retweeted Sittenfeld, indicating he also supports Black.

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman said there's more to the story and Cranley has "confidential information" that prompted him to ask for Black's resignation.

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P.G. Sittenfeld backs city manager, police chief

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He urged the public to be patient and said Cranley and Black need time to try to work the matter out.

"I think the mayor is giving the city manager an opportunity to marinate and think," Smitherman told FOX19 NOW on Monday.  "I just want to give the mayor an opportunity to have conversations with the city manager and see how they are going to resolve the information that they are both are aware of."

City Council is expected to discuss the issue at their weekly meeting at City Hall Wednesday.

The public input portion of the meeting is 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. The council meeting follows.

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