Council approves eight-month severance for city manager; Trump in Ohio today; more news

Cincinnati City Council today approved a severance package for City Manager Harry Black worth $174,000, but the drama isn't necessarily over

click to enlarge President Donald Trump during a 2016 campaign stop in West Chester - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
President Donald Trump during a 2016 campaign stop in West Chester

Hello, all. I’m still trying to shake the fogginess that comes from one of the weirdest days on record in City Hall followed by too many servings of chili at the Best of Cincinnati party last night, but I’m going to do my best to soldier on and talk about news. Here goes.

In a very brief meeting, Cincinnati City Council today voted to approve an eight-month severance package for City Manager Harry Black worth roughly $174,000. That’s much less than the initial deal Black made with Mayor John Cranley for more than $423,000, but hey, it’s more than he would get if he just walked away from the job (that would be zero dollars).

Seven council members voted to pass today’s plan. Councilman Jeff Pastor voted against it. Councilman Greg Landsman was absent.

A committee before the full council meeting shot down another deal from Cranley that would have given the manager 12 months of severance.

Yesterday, council rejected the $423,000 offer in a chaotic meeting that showed the full extent of the fault lines running through City Hall and beyond. You can read about the drama here.

Today’s vote comes after weeks of swirling political drama sparked by controversy within the Cincinnati Police Department. Cranley has wanted Black out as city manager. Black says he wants to stay, however. Five Democrat members of council refused to approve Black and Cranley’s large settlement agreement, and it looked for a while like the stalemate had no end in sight.

Even after today’s vote, it still isn’t over, exactly. Black has to accept the buyout council voted to approve. He has until April 30 to do so. 

• Mayor John Cranley will likely introduce ordinances supporting an FCC stadium in the West End, he told attendees at yesterday’s council meeting. Those ordinances could include city money to help pay Cincinnati Public Schools for property taxes, help with infrastructure, some parcels of city right-of-way, support for zoning changes or other measures. It’s unclear whether Cranley will have the support of council in the effort.

• The Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day game was postponed today for the first time in more than 50 years. That’s due to the rainy weather, the team says. If you were counting on the free food that often comes along with Opening Day festivities, however, fear not — Skyline is still honoring a commitment to give fans free coneys. The Reds' opening game will now take place Friday at 4:10 p.m.

• A Republican Ohio candidate for U.S. Senate failed to report big bucks he gave political candidates and the GOP while he was a lobbyist, the Associated Press reports. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci didn’t mention almost $50,000 in contributions he gave to political candidates while he was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. between 2008 and 2010, according to the report. Renacci’s campaign says he wasn’t working as a lobbyist at the time. But the AP report says that Renacci continued to file lobbyist disclosure forms through 2010. Renacci’s registration as a lobbyist was formally terminated in May 2011, about four months after he became a congressman.

• Finally, President Donald Trump will be in Richfield, Ohio today, where he’s expected to again unveil his ideas for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. Trump really loves coming to Ohio to talk infrastructure — he dropped by Cincinnati last year to announce a plan that would have tried to leverage a relatively small amount of federal dollars to stimulate private investment in the nation’s infrastructure. That plan, however, has languished in Congress. The president will appear at roughly 2 p.m. at a union training site in the village between Akron and Cleveland.

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