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Two Council Members not happy with solicitor demotion

Taft Stettinius & Hollister website
John Curp

Two Cincinnati Council Members are complaining about this week's demotion of John Curp from city solicitor to chief counsel for MSD and the Water Works. 

P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris Seelbach questioned Interim City Manager Scott Stiles about the personnel move he announced Tuesday in a memo.  Seelbach said he thinks Stiles made his decision based on the wishes of Mayor John Cranley or perhaps some council members.

"To me it just seems incredibly fishy, incredibly political and incredibly wrong and against our city charter," Seelbach said.

Seelbach said the Charter is clear the mayor and council members shall not be involved in personnel decisions made by the city manager. 

When asked directly, Stiles would not say if the mayor or council members asked for Curp to be demoted.  Stiles said he was not going to discuss his private conversations with those individuals.

Council Member Amy Murray said the manager is the city's CEO and personnel decisions belong to him. "He should be able to look at the administration and make changes he thinks he need too with whatever advice he feels he needs," Murray said.

Mayor John Cranley said the solicitor and other top department heads are at will employees and serve at the pleasure of the city manager.  They do not have the protections offered to civil service workers in the city. 

Cranley said the Curp decision is not news and happens frequently when city managers change. 

Besides being transferred to do legal work for M-S-D and the Water Works, Curp's pay was cut by $35,000.  Seelbach said he is introducing an ordinance to restore that pay cut.