Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney Expected to Take Job in Virginia Beach

The Virginia Beach City Council is set to meet at 1 p.m. today to discuss and confirm their pick for the position

Patrick Duhaney - City of Cincinnati
City of Cincinnati
Patrick Duhaney

Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney will resign today to become city manager of Virginia Beach, according to correspondence between the manager and Mayor John Cranley.

Duhaney's new position will start in late July. City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething will replace him as acting city manager.

"I am heartbroken," Cranley responded to Duhaney's notice. "You have been by far the best manager I have ever worked with... Cincinnati will emerge from our trifecta of crises (pandemic, racial injustice and budget crisis) because of your amazing hard work and effectiveness."

Assistant City Manager Chris Bingham was first on Duhaney's succession list, but he indicated in an email that he is not available to serve as assistant city manager.

The Virginia Beach City Council is set to meet at 1 p.m. today to discuss and confirm their pick for the position. Duhaney would be Virginia Beach's first Black city manager. It has been 10 months since the city's previous city manager resigned.

Duhaney stepped into his role as city manager here in April 2018 on an interim basis to replace ousted city manager Harry Black after Black's tumultuous exit. Duhaney had been assistant city manager prior to Black's departure. Mayor John Cranley later tapped Duhaney for the role permanently and Cincinnati City Council voted to approve him in Dec. 12 that year.

"I just instinctively knew, this is a man who can be trusted," Cranley said of Duhaney at the time.

Duhaney, 37, 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 had to navigate controversy around the city's 911 call center after the death of teenager Kyle Plush. 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.

News of Duhaney's potential departure comes during the city's budget process — one of the toughest on record in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic fallout. At one point, the city faced a $73 million budget deficit. Duhaney and Cranley last week proposed a budget that balances that shortfall using a number of one-time sources, layoffs and hiring freezes.

"In these unprecedented times, it is mission critical to the city that we have a seamless transition immediately," Cranley wrote to Duhaney. "We need someone who can do the job right away as we navigate historic challenges, search for new solutions, but continue to provide the services that our city depends upon to survive. Paula is by far the best alternative to you to do that."

Duhaney's eventual permanent replacement will be the fourth city manager to serve during Cranley's tenure, which started in December 2013.

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