Mayor calls special council meeting to act on whistleblower protection

Mayor calls special council meeting to act on whistleblower protection
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley addresses the media at City Hall Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW/file)
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley addresses the media at City Hall Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mayor John Cranley has called a special City Council meeting Friday morning to discuss and take action on a whistleblower protection ordinance.

Council's Law and Public Safety Committee will meet first at 10:30, followed by a full council meeting at 10:45 a.m., the mayor's office confirmed Thursday.

A power struggle exploded this week at City Hall, one observers consider unprecedented.

Mayor accuses city manager of 'abusive' 'retaliatory' behavior: 'This is sad'

Cranley asked Black to resign Friday and then announced Tuesday they had "reached an agreement in principle" for Black to exit.

Black denied that and said he had not made any decisions.

When council held their first meeting Wednesday since the controversy began, every single one of the more than a dozen residents who addressed them about it urged them to keep the city manager.

Neither Black nor Cranley mentioned their dispute during the meeting.

But after, both talked to reporters.

Black said he was not interested in settlement talks, announcing "I am here to stay.

"The forces that are out there are going to continue what they are doing," he explained. "They will basically use innuendo, conjecture, greatly embellishing what might be factual as a means of tarnishing my character and my reputation.

"I am prepared to struggle through that, keep the city focused and working forward and we'll see what happens at the end of the day."

Minutes later, the mayor held his own press conference and revealed he wants Black gone due to a pattern of "abusive" and "retaliatory" behavior.

Cranley said he's repeatedly advised Black to change his way, which includes making late-night, abusive phone calls to employees. He's run out of patience and now feels the need to make his concerns public.

Cranley said he would build a case to council to remove the city manager he hired four years ago. If he stays, the mayor warned, consequences could be dire.

He said he has heard from about a dozen employees alleging mistreatment by the city manager.

He plans to ask them to  testify before Council about behaviors they have witnessed or experienced. Those who are afraid to come forward can submit statements, he said.

Five city employees have sued the city and Black in recent months, alleging retaliation. The most recent case was filed in federal court Tuesday.

Cranley said Black's behavior has hurt employee morale and he is "deeply worried" about Black's decision-making process.

As a result, he said he was freezing personnel moves until the dispute with Black is resolved.

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