- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati’s embattled city manager offered apologies Wednesday and said he’d like to stay on despite the mayor’s efforts to oust him.

City Manager Harry Black spoke after a city council vote showed Mayor John Cranley continued to be one short of the majority he needs to send Black out with a proposed $423,000 severance package, equivalent to about 18 months’ pay.

It appears the next episode in the City Hall drama likely will come Thursday, when council could consider Cranley’s new proposal to let Black resign with 12 months’ pay. Council could also consider eight months’ severance.

Cranley says Black has had a pattern of unprofessional behavior, such as a strip club visit by Black and three city police officers during a city business trip to Denver two years ago. Black said it was during his private time.

Black said he has offended Cranley and he apologizes for that, and that he takes “full responsibility” and apologizes to anyone else he might have offended. He said the city has achieved much in the last four years.

“I believe that are many more successes awaiting us,” Black said. “I would very much like to continue in this capacity as long as this body desires for me to do so.”

The power struggle between two strong-willed government leaders has racial overtones and rhetoric has heated up with some community leaders calling the effort to push Black out the latest “public takedown” of a black leader in the city. Cranley is white.

“I think this city could use some civility,” Cranley, re-elected last November to a second term, said amid some shouts from Wednesday’s meeting crowd.

Council member Wendell Young, a Democrat, Tuesday accused the mayor, also a Democrat, of bribery. The mayor’s office called that the latest in a “long line of silly political stunts.” Young, who is black, also has suggested voters should have the ability to recall the mayor.

Cincinnati is the heart of a metro area of more than 2 million people that includes northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana besides southwestern Ohio, and has gained national recognition in recent years for police reforms and urban revitalization efforts.


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