Cranley Names Appointees To New Anti-Corruption Development Ethics Panel

Jan 27, 2021

Updated: 3:45 p.m.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley Wednesday announced the nine people he’s appointing to an Economic Development reform panel. City Council passed an ordinance last month creating the panel in response to the arrests of three council members on federal corruption charges.

Retired Hamilton County Judge Ann Marie Tracey will serve as chair. She says they plan to do a "360-degree review" of the city's current development process.

"We're going to look at the hard copy guidelines that we find contained in the city charter; state law; state legislation; ethics laws; codes of conduct; we're going to look at best practices throughout the country," Tracey said. "And in so doing, we hope to be able to formulate some recommendations to City Council and to the administration."

Tracey is a former chair of the Ohio Ethics Commission. 

"I can't imagine having a more qualified person to be the chairperson of this commission," Cranley said. "I'm very proud and honored that she's willing to serve and we're lucky that she is." 

The other eight appointees include former elected officials and city administrators, as well as development representatives. Council is expected to approve the appointments next week.

Former Council Member and County Commissioner Guy Guckenberger says he’s looking forward to restoring discipline to both council and administration.

"For City Council to not be involved in negotiating development contracts," Guckenberger said. "And quite frankly, not to be involved in the administration of the city, but to remain a legislative body as it should be."

City Manager Paula Boggs Muething says the lines between city operations and policymakers have eroded over time.

"Often for laudable goals like increasing responsiveness," she said, "but this faithlessness to the charter’s mandates has contributed to where we find ourselves."

Council Member David Mann, who is running for mayor, initially proposed the panel's creation. He said the appointed group is well-balanced and the panel is a first step to "put our house back in order." 

"We're in a deep hole in terms of public confidence, public trust in City Hall — particularly City Council — and it's something that requires a meaningful and serious response," Mann said. 

The panel will meet every two weeks, with meetings streamed publicly online. Mann's original proposal called for the panel's recommendations by May 1, but Mayor Cranley requested more time; the group is now expected to issue its report by August 1. 

Ethics Panel Appointees

Ann Marie Tracey: (Chair) Retired - Hamilton County Common Pleas judge; professor emeritus, Xavier University; former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio

Verna Williams: dean and Nippert professor of law, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Alicia Bond Lewis: partner, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Dan Schimberg: president, Uptown Rental Properties LLC

Bobbi Dillon: senior manager, state government relations, Procter & Gamble Company

KZ Smith: senior pastor, Corinthian Baptist Church

Bernadette Watson: Retired - City of Cincinnati public information officer, Cincinnati Health Department; former chief of staff for Mayor Charlie Luken

Tim Burke: president, Manley Burke LPA; former chairman of Hamilton County Democratic Party

Guy Guckenberger: Judge, Hamilton County Municipal Court; former Cincinnati council member and Hamilton County commissioner

Read the full ordinance establishing the panel below.

Cincinnati Economic Development Reform Panel by WVXU News on Scribd