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Former solicitor leaving city government; returning to private law practice

Michael Keating

Former Cincinnati solicitor John Curp is leaving city government to return to private practice.

Curp will be joining the Blank Rome law firm to work with clients on issues involving local, state and federal governments.  He starts his new position Tuesday.

Interim City Manager Scott Stiles removed Curp as solicitor in January just more than a month into the new term of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.  After his demotion, he was assigned to work as the general counsel for the Water Works/MSD/Storm water combined utility.

Former City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. named him city solicitor in September 2008.  Curp said in an interview Monday morning he was proud to serve the city and the legal excellence and professionalism of the city’s law department.

Curp said he was hired by Dohoney to get The Banks development “out of the ground, and to sow the seeds for other economic development projects” now beginning to take shape around the city.

At the time of Curp’s demotion, at least two council members complained the Curp decision was an overreach from the mayor’s office.  Council Member Chris Seelbach said during a Council meeting on the issue the City Charter is clear the mayor and council members shall not be involved in personnel decisions made by the city manager.  

During that meeting when asked directly, Interim City Manager Scott 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.  

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 added at the time the Curp decision is not news and happens frequently when city managers change.  

Right now Terrance Nestor is serving as the interim city solicitor until a permanent replacement is selected.  That likely will not happen until a permanent city manager is hired.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.