As you may recall, last December almost immediately after being elected, Mayor John Cranley nominated Park Board Director Willie Carden for the position of City Manager to replace outgoing City Manager Milton Dohoney. Very soon after that, and prior to his confirmation by the council it came to light that an ethics complaint had been filed against Carden with the Ohio Ethics Commission. Apparently Carden, along with his Finance Director, Marijane Klug, had received “salary Enhancements” paid to them by the Cincinnati Parks Foundation. After an investigation by the Ethics Commission, a settlement was reached requiring both Carden and Klug pay back half of the monies received and the commission would not refer the matter to the prosecutor’s office. Both Carden and Klug continued their employment with the Cincinnati Park Board. That truly amazes me that not only did they keep their jobs, but were permitted to keep half of their illegal earnings.
After the above action was made public following the nomination of Carden, he withdrew as a candidate and Mayor Cranley was given a do over in selecting a new City manager. Apparently this time he took a bit more time to locate the new candidate for city Manager than he did when selecting Carden. About eight months longer in fact. Several days ago he announced the nomination of the Chief Financial Officer from the City of Baltimore, Maryland, Harry Black. Harry has no previous experience as a City Manager. Now my first reaction was “What, did you not see the HBO series, “The Wire””. If you have not, take my word for it, this series did not present a very flattering picture of Baltimore City Administration or politics. Of course, I have no idea if this was factually presented, or just made up to be good television. So I will reserve judgment on his previous employment and employer and just assume he is a straight arrow.
Following a national search, there did not seem to be much publicity or press coverage. I only recall one article where the Mayor stated the search was nearing a conclusion and he hoped to have the new City manager on the job by July First. Obviously, that did not happen. However, it did not seem to take long before the “long list” became a short list of only two candidates, Harry Black and Scott Stiles. The selection of Harry Black was no surprise as it follows the trend that local talent is always overlooked in favor of outside talent. This trend occurred in the selection of the fire chief and the last two police chiefs, even when the local talent appears to be the best candidate, as in the case of the selection of Jeffrey Blackwell. There is no question in my mind that Paul Humphries was clearly the best choice for position of Police Chief. That being said, all that is left to do is to adopt a wait and see stance. I wish the new City Manager the best of luck. Hopefully he can settle in quickly, pick up the reins and get the City back on a fiscally sound foothold. I trust he will not find the east/west divide too confusing and trust he will quickly realize that Gold Star is the superior chili.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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