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Council: It's Time To Start Searching For A Permanent City Manager

Harry Black
Bill Rinehart
The city is still searching for a replacement for Harry Black, who resigned as city manager in March.

Cincinnati has had an acting city manager in Patrick Duhaney since April, when Harry Black resigned before a council majority could vote to fire him. Now some say it's time to start the process of hiring a permanent replacement.
Council could approve a motion Wednesday asking city administrators to begin the process of hiring a permanent city manager. A committee approved the measure Tuesday.  

Council Member Wendell Young introduced the idea.

"We can't go on like this with just an acting city manager," Young said. "That's the purpose of this, to get the wheels turning and start moving us in a direction of hiring a permanent city manager."

Council Member Tamaya Dennard also supports the motion.

"I prefer a national search as opposed to just a local search. I think locally there would be too much baggage from an individual," Dennard said. "So I support us casting a wider net so that we can get a greater pool of candidates."

But Council Member David Mann said Young's motion is not appropriate. He said the charter gives the mayor the responsibility of hiring the city manager.

"This motion is directed at the administration, which in normal parlance means the city manager and those who report to him, so I'm not sure that it's the appropriate direction," Mann said. "What can the city manager do if we say, 'Begin the process of hiring your permanent replacement'? That's not his deal."

Council member Greg Landsman, who also supported Young’s motion, said Mayor John Cranley has met with two firms about conducting a search for a permanent city manager.

On April 21, Cincinnati council accepted the resignation of Harry Black after weeks of attempted dismissals. His resignation came as council and the mayor started another effort to fire him.

Cranley hired Black as city manager in August 2014. He asked Black to resign March 9, later saying Black had been "abusive" toward city employees and acted unprofessionally. Black refused.

On March 17, Cranley and Black announced they had agreed to a separation agreement. However, a council majority opposed that proposal.

By April, Council Member Landsman, who had previously opposed firing Black, changed his mind giving the mayor five votes, or a majority, to oust Black.  

Council appointed Duhaney, who joined the city in 2009, to the temporary post. He was named assistant city manager in February after serving in the finance department.