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Mayor-elect Pureval's transition team includes a former mayor, a civil rights leader, and Children's Hospital CEO

Aftab Pureval at podium
Becca Costello
Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval (at podium) announced his transition team. From left: Michael Fisher, Stephanie Jones, and Mark Mallory.

Three community leaders will manage Cincinnati's mayoral transition as Aftab Pureval prepares to take office in January. Pureval announced the members of his transition team Monday.

"Mayor Cranley really has proactively reached out and set up these meetings. He's committed to a professional and orderly transition," Pureval says. "We have a shared priority to ensure that the city's business does not miss a step during the transition."

Pureval met with Cranley the day after the election and says they have a standing weekly meeting.

Pureval is the current Hamilton County Clerk of Courts; The Hamilton County Democratic Party is forming a committee to choose his replacement. The panel of nine will screen candidates and make a recommendation to the central committee. The position will also be on the ballot next November.

The transition co-chairs are:

  • Former Mayor Mark Mallory, who served at City Hall from 2005 to 2013. Before that he served in the Ohio House and Senate. Until Pureval, he was the only mayor elected who had not previously served on City Council.
  • Michael Fisher, outgoing president & CEO of Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Fisher led Children's for 12 years before announcing his retirement earlier this year. His successor, Steve Davis, will take over November 22.
  • Attorney Stephanie Jones, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. She is president of the civil rights nonprofit Call to Justice Foundation.

"This is really the first time that we've seen this kind of organized transition between mayors in the city of Cincinnati in decades, perhaps ever," Mallory says. "This is a real opportunity to do it right."
Mallory, Fisher, and Jones will join meetings with each of the new council members and the current administration, including Cranley and City Manager Paula Boggs Muething. They will work on turning Pureval's campaign plans into legislation and policy.

"The first goal is to understand what the current administration is doing — what the priorities are, what the issues are, what the opportunities are," Mallory says. "And then two, to make sure that as he goes into office, the mayor-elect has the opportunity to overlay his vision and his priorities for Cincinnati's future."

Pureval campaigned on four policy plans: affordable housing, economic recovery, the environment, and criminal justice. Jones says the common thread is a renewed focus on racial equity.

"This focus was central to the mayor-elect's successful campaign, and it will be at the core of what we will now work to implement with a newly elected council," Jones says. "It's going to take a full team of focused leaders to get it done; leaders who can leave their egos at the door, roll up their sleeves, work together on our shared goals."

Fisher says he and Pureval agree the partnership between the city and the business community is very important.

"The big, bold plans also require a vibrant economy and require the tax base to do it, and the energy that comes from growing businesses and diverse opportunities," Fisher says.

The transition team also includes former P&G executive Harry Kangis, who will help with strategic planning. Kangis recently consulted on the process of evaluating the city manager.

Pureval plans a national search for a new city manager as soon as he takes office in January. He says although he's met with Boggs Muething about the transition, they have not discussed whether she wants to be a candidate for the job.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.