Cincinnati City Council Approves Duhaney as City Manager

Duhaney, 36, has been serving as acting city manager since the turbulent exit of City Manager Harry Black in April

Dec 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm
City Manager Patrick Duhaney - City of Cincinnati
City of Cincinnati
City Manager Patrick Duhaney

Cincinnati City Council today approved Patrick Duhaney as the city's new city manager.

Mayor John Cranley nominated Duhaney for the position last week, though he has been serving as acting city manager since former City Manager Harry Black's turbulent exit in April.

Black left after a protracted and unprecedented tussle with Cranley initially sparked by Black's dismissal of Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Dave Bailey. Black and Cranley traded barbs for weeks as council weighed the terms under which Black would leave.

The five Council Democrats who have long sparred with Cranley, and who held out on voting to fire Black, today expressed admiration for his successor. Wendell Young, among the sharpest of Cranley's critics during the fight over Black, said he initially wanted a national search for a new city manager, but fully supported Duhaney's appointment. Others echoed that sentiment.

"As you know, the position is incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding, and you have earned the distinction of serving," Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld wrote in a letter to Duhaney.

Sittenfeld and other council members today outlined their expectations for Duhaney. Those included facilitating economic growth, improving communication within City Hall and shoring up basic services like the city's Emergency Call Center, which saw a crisis this summer around the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush, who died after emergency responders couldn't locate him while he was trapped under a seat in a minivan.  

Councilmember Greg Landsman stressed he would also like to see an increased focus on youth issues and efforts toward greater equity in development and economic growth.

"I am truly humbled by this incredible opportunity," Duhaney said today. "Thank you for the faith and the support you all have for me."

Cranley had narrowed down his choice to Duhaney and Assistant City Manager John Jeuch.

"I just instinctively knew, this is a man who can be trusted," Cranley said of Duhaney at a news conference announcing his choice.

Duhaney, 36, was born in Jamaica and served in the U.S. Military before coming to Cincinnati to work at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and then the city's procurement office. He said his experience deactivating explosives had helped him prepare for the tough role of city manager, claiming "it isn't the hardest job I've ever had."

During his time as acting city manager, Duhaney has had to navigate controversy around the city's 911 call center after the death of Kyle Plush this summer. Plush suffocated after calling 911 twice to report he was pinned under the back seat of his minivan. Cranley and other city officials have applauded Duhaney's handling of the crisis and changes to the city's emergency call center.