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Black resigns, Patrick Duhaney becomes acting city manager

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Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney’s is sworn into office by City Solicitor Paula Boggs-Muething Saturday noon, after former City Manager Harry Black resigned. Photo by Casey Weldon, City of Cincinnati

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

In sudden action at City Hall Saturday morning April 21, the Cincinnati City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Harry Black and immediately approved approved the appointment of Assistant City Manager Patrick Duhaney as acting city manager.

The council’s special session Saturday was aimed at removing Black from office following a contentious seven weeks of bickering between Mayor John Cranley and Black and council members after Cranley asked Black to resign on May 9.

City leaders will not conduct a search for a new city manager. Cranley said Saturday he is not sure when an interim manager will be named.

“Sadly, we weren’t getting the feedback in the current leadership structure that we had,” the mayor said. “We needed a manager who was going to listen to people and not criticize people who were coming forward and saying we have low morale, high turnover and not enough resources.”

Duhaney released a statement Saturday before his swearing-in ceremony was conducted by City Solicitor Paula Boggs-Muething.

“I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve as acting city manager as we go through this period of transition. Working with our dedicated and experienced staff. We will ensure the operations of government continue without interruption,” said Duhaney.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, even during this transitional period. I work hard for the people of Cincinnati as we enter into this budget season and continue our work on all fronts to address the concerns related to our 911 system.”

On Monday, Duhaney joined Cranley, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, and other council members and local media representatives on a tour of the city’s Emergency Communications Center at 2000 Radcliff Dr. in Lower rice Hall to address needed changes. Issues there in the 911 call center, which have been festering for several years, became public about two weeks ago when Kyle Plush, a Seven Hills High School sophomore became trapped in his Honda Odyssey as he was reaching over the back seat for his tennis gear and was flipped into the back well and crushed to death by the seat. The first of his desperate 911 calls brought police to the school’s parking lots, but they were unsuccessful in finding the vehicle. While police were at the school, a second 911 call from Plush was never dispatched to the police at the scene.

That was the last straw for Councilman Greg Landsman, who was among the majority on the council opposing a package of more than $400,000 that Cranley and Black had crafted for Black to resign. With the council then stacked against him, Black resigned, accepting a payout of $173,000 and about $100,000 in benefits.

Black, a former finance manager for the city of Baltimore, had been city manager for about three years, after being hired by Cranley.

In a statement, Duhaney said, “I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve as acting city manager as we go through this period of transition. Working with our dedicated and experienced staff, we will ensure the operations of government continue without interruption. We have a lot work ahead of us, even during this transitional period. I will work hard for the people of Cincinnati as we enter into this budget season and continue our work on all fronts to address the concerns related to our 911 system.”

At the Emergency Communications Center, Duhaney said, “I’m eager to start working with the mayor to get the city through this time, The next steps are the repair action plan that we’re going to present to law and public safety committee April 30 and work out the action plan with Vice Mayor Smitherman. Then we will implement it and fix the situation that is going on in the 911 center.”

Duhaney was working as the city’s chief procurement office overseeing the purchasing division of the finance department when he was promoted to assistant city manager in February after the former one quit, according to the city’s website.

He began his career with the city of Cincinnati in 2009 as a contract compliance specialist with the city manager’s office then served in several leadership positions in the department of sewers. He went from there to the finance department.

Duhaney has also been active in the community aiding the redevelopment of Avondale and Price Hill working for a community development financial institution and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Duhaney is also a combat veteran who served as a combat engineer and in a military logistics command from 1999 through 2015.

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