( Cincinnati ) - Cincinnati City Council's regular session on Wednesday was a bit more boisterous than usual.
There was an extended period of public comment where people weighed in on both the possibility of a soccer stadium for FC Cincinnati in the West End and also the now weeks-long feud between Mayor John Cranley and City Manager Harry Black.
A majority on council voted down the mayor's proposal to pay an 18-month severance package worth more than $400,000 for Black to step down. That "no" majority on council has said they want more details from the mayor on why he wants Black gone. Many people in the audience cheered in support of Harry Black.
Mayor John Cranley characterized the situation as Black being held against his will. That's something Councilman Wendell Young took exception to, saying "if I read my history correctly, Lincoln freed the slaves." Young also said that he believes the real issue is Mayor Cranley "to push people out of city service when they disagree with you." In pitching his side, Mayor Cranley said "we have a lot to decide about who we are as a city on a going-forward basis. Are we going to hold people hostage to political fights or are we going to support progress and growth?" The mayor also equated keeping Harry Black in the job with people who are fighting against an FC Cincinnati soccer stadium in the West End.
At the end of the meeting City Manager Harry Black spoke for himself. He said he's an imperfect person who's always trying to do his best. He offered an apology to the mayor for offending him and an apology to anyone else he may have offended. He then said "being city manager is an honor and a privilege. I would very much like to continue in this capacity as long as this body desires for me to do so," to scattered cheers and applause from the audience.
There will be a special meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee on Thursday, where shorter, less-costly severance packages to offer Black will be considered.