Black Leaders in Cincinnati Side With Embattled City Manager Harry Black Against Mayor John Cranley

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black (Photo: The Enquirer/Meg Vogel)
Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black (Photo: The Enquirer/Meg Vogel)

Five of Cincinnati’s most prominent African-American groups are backing embattled City Manager Harry Black amid reports that Mayor John Cranley has asked for his resignation.

“We support City Manager Harry Black and Chief of Police Eliot Isaac in the performance of their duties …,” says the statement issued Saturday afternoon by groups including the Cincinnati NAACP chapter and the Sentinels Police Association. “City Manager Black was well within the exclusive authority of his position with the personnel decision he made regarding Assistant Chief Bailey.”

Black leaders are angry with developments this week involving Black and Isaac – both of whom are African-American.

Mayor John Cranley asked the city manager to resign Friday afternoon, according to sources, after Black forced out Assistant Police Chief Dave Bailey, who is white. Black had given Bailey an ultimatum after complaining Wednesday that a group in the Cincinnati Police Department was trying to undermine Isaac’s authority at the top of a department with a history of racial tension.

Also signing onto the statement were the Cincinnati chapter of the National Action Network, the Cincinnati Black United Front and the Black Agenda Cincinnati. Councilman Wendell Young and state Sen. Cecil Thomas also signed the statement.

Black, in his first public appearance since reports that the mayor has asked for his resignation, said Saturday morning that he has “no comment at this time.” He was taking part in the previously scheduled Neighborhood Summit at Xavier University.

Cranley spokeswoman Holly Stutz Smith issued a statement Saturday stressing that the mayor “fully supports” Isaac.

“Last evening, the Mayor and Chief Isaac spoke and both acknowledged that they’ve had a mutually supportive relationship for years and that both are committed to the same going forward,” Stutz Smith said.

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SOURCE: Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer