Jumping the Gun?

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A few Cincinnati City Council members snickered at a memorandum that Councilman Jeff Berding distributed to them this morning, while some others were irritated.

A memo to the mayor and City Council, written on Berding’s official city letterhead, begins, “Mayor Mallory and Council Colleagues.” The document then asks council to hold public hearings on the possibility of police and firefighter layoffs as a method for helping balance the budget. The problem? It’s signed by Berding and a first-time Democratic candidate for City Council, Tony Fischer.—-

“I think he’s forgotten that Fischer isn’t on City Council,” one City Hall staffer said.

Meanwhile, Berding and Fischer held a joint press conference this afternoon in front of District 1 Police Headquarters in the West End, the second joint media event that pair has held in the past week. Both events centered on possible layoffs.

At the last event, on July 9, Berding and Fischer were joined by Council Members Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel, two Republican incumbents.

In today’s memo, Berding wrote, “We should give residents the opportunity to be heard on whether they believe Cincinnati has too many police officers and firefighters, and whether they desire police officers and firefighters (sic) layoffs to be used to balance the budget.”

A council majority has disagreed with Berding’s stance, which they have called a election-year campaign stunt. The majority, led by Vice Mayor David Crowley and Finance Committee Chairwoman Laketa Cole, want all options on the table as City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. negotiates with the police and firefighter unions to have them accept a six-day, unpaid furlough.

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