Conflicting Accounts On Whether Harry Black Will Vacate Position As City Manager

Mar 13, 2018

Mayor John Cranley announced late Tuesday that City Manager Harry Black will vacate his post within the week.  But Black released a statement later stating "no decision" had been made.

According to Cranley's release, the two are working toward a mutually agreed upon departure agreement that will require council approval, which is expected to be presented by Monday, March 19. 

One source tells WVXU Cranley is offering Black a separation agreement that includes two years of salary.  That would total more than $500,000.  The Cranley statement didn't include any specifics on what's in the proposed agreement.

"Over the last 3.5 years it has been my pleasure to work collaboratively with Mr. Black in our efforts to stabilize the city’s finances," the statement from the mayor read, noting the passage of three structurally balanced budgets and an upgraded credit rating. "Assuming council approves, I wish Mr. Black the best of luck in his future endeavors and I thank him for his service to the city of Cincinnati."

Almost an hour later, Black issued his own statement, seemingly refuting the mayor's.

"I am currently in communication with the mayor. We are having very productive discussions, however, as of this time, I, as city manager, have not made any decisions regarding matters that are currently being discussed in the media."

Black goes on to say he wishes to continue serving as city manager "as long as the mayor and council will have me."

Council member Chris Seelbach said Cranley doesn't have the votes needed to approve his proposed agreement. Council member Wendell Young agreed the votes aren't there, and said he won't help the manager leave.

"I think the mayor is like a 2-year-old throwing a tantrum when he doesn't get his way, that's what's going on here," Young said. "For whatever the reasons are, he's very upset with the manager because he followed the recommendation of Chief Isaac to separate Bailey from city service. That was done. That's with his purview."

Assistant Police Chief Dave Bailey accepted a separation agreement last week and is on paid administrative leave until he can retire in about two years.

The issue is likely to be discussed Wednesday during the regular city council meeting which starts at two o'clock.

Follow WVXU reporter Jay Hanselmen on Twitter for more live updates on this story.