( Cincinnati ) - "It is now on us - the Council Majority - to bring order and a fair process to this situation." That's how an open letter Friday from five members of Cincinnati City Council begins.
Councilmembers Tamaya Dennard, PG Sittenfeld, Greg Landsman, Wendell Young, and Chris Seelbach call the recent turmoil between Mayor John Cranley and City Manager Harry Black an "unfortunate saga." The mayor wants the city manager to step down, but he needs a majority of council to fire him.
The joint statement says that "anyone who wishes to bring forward concerns or report misconduct must feel safe and comfortable." Mayor Cranley has said multiple city workers have approached him with complaints about Harry Black. The councilmember statement says they want people's voices to be heard. It goes on to talk about due process, saying "no one's name or reputation should be tarnished without there being clear evidence." The five also say they share the concerns of groups like the Urban League, Community Action Agency, NAACP, National Action Network, and more that "present behavior is rolling back the clock on race relations in Cincinnati."
They propose several immediate steps:
- Appoint an outside Special Counsel to investigate concerns voiced by Mayor Cranley and "counter-factuals" from City Manager Harry Black. That Special Counsel would submit a report to council.
- A "ceasefire" between Cranley and Black, wherein a pro bono mediator would be brought in so the two could still perform city work. During that ceasefire period, they're calling for no personnel changes
They say they want council to control the process, with a willingness to hold a "public trial" that the mayor has called for so grievances could be addressed.
The letter closes by saying "we look forward to cool heads prevailing, these issues being properly addressed, and everyone getting back to work for the city we love."