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WVXU has been covering the stories of politics and corruption at Cincinnati's City Hall since early 2020. We have now launched an initiative to more closely examine Cincinnati politics and the individuals who have shaped it, along with the current allegations of corruption. We'll also explore proposals for change, and seek feedback from local leaders and community members on what can be done to restore trust in City Hall.Trust in Local Government, WVXU's Public Integrity Project will analyze our council-manager form of government and the charter amendments designed to reinforce ethical standards at City Hall; take a historical look at corruption in Cincinnati government; talk with the candidates for Cincinnati mayor and continue with an ongoing series of features, interviews and candidate profiles.

Development Reform Panel Plans Public Hearing As Recommendation Deadline Nears

steps in city hall
Jason Whitman
/
WVXU
Steps leading up to council chambers in Cincinnati City Hall

A panel tasked with suggesting reforms to Cincinnati's economic development process is refining its first draft of recommendations. At a meeting Friday, the panel discussed whether to include all city workers in its ethical conduct recommendations, or just elected officials.

"I don't want our work to be seen as targeting, say, city employees or people who have not been shown to conduct themselves illegally," said Bobbi Dillon, former chief of staff to Mayor John Cranley. "But I think what we have learned is the culture of ethical training and environment is crucial and important."

The Economic Development Reform Panel has been meeting since February in response to three council members arrested on corruption charges last year.

The panel's recommendations will likely include establishing a confidential hotline to report unethical conduct, which could use an existing city hotline for reporting fraud, waste and abuse. The panel may also recommend a new code of conduct in which elected officials would agree to report any inappropriate requests from developers.

Panel chair Ann Marie Tracey says they'll meet weekly instead of bi-weekly from now on.

"We're about to tackle some pretty thorny areas. I really appreciate how everybody's working to reach a consensus."

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 9 at 1 p.m. Feedback can also be sent via email edrp@cincinnati-oh.gov. Final recommendations are due to council by Aug. 1.