What can Cincinnati's incoming city manager learn from the local guy who didn't get the job?

'My goal is to help the city'

CINCINNATI - A top ally for Cincinnati's incoming City Manager Harry Black may be the man who didn’t get the job - long-time city leader Scott Stiles.

A veteran city employee, Stiles has spent 26 years working for Cincinnati – serving most recently as assistant city manager and then interim manager following Milton Dohoney’s departure last December.

On Wednesday, Stiles was passed over in his bid to become Cincinnati’s 15th city manager - a job he has been doing for the last eight months.  Stiles was the only local candidate for the chief role from a national pool of applicants that included Black - Mayor John Cranley's nominee from Baltimore.

“Every one has been asking are you disappointed? Are you happy to have some of your life back? It’s a little bit of everything,” said Stiles. “But we got a lot of good stuff done, and I’m proud of that.”

As council approved and welcomed Black on Wednesday, several members also noted Stiles’ key role in recent months and long service to the city.

“As people know, when we took office in December, it was  little stressful,” Cranley said. “We had a lot of public debate. Without exception, Mr. Stiles handled that with his routine class and character and even-handedness.”

With Stiles at the city’s helm, leaders inked “the largest number of job creation deals within my living memory,” Cranley said, referring to recent deals that included landing new offices for GE at The Banks and Mercy Health in Bond Hill.

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld called Stiles Cincinnati’s “fixer” and “go-to guy.”

Stiles “has been an unbelievable leader for decades….We should be appreciative that he’s going to continue to be a leader at the highest ranks,” said Sittenfeld.

For his part, Stiles said he has no plans to Cincinnati any time soon, and he's eager to go back to his former job as the city’s assistant city manager. He was likely passed over for the top job, he says, for some reasons that were out of his control.

“From  my knowledge, I don’t think we’ve ever hired a city manager who is from the city,” Stiles said Wednesday. “And on top of it, (Cranley) found a guy who has a lot of good credentials and has a great background. I think John would consider me a trusted colleague. He knows I’m a pretty transparent person, my goal is to help the city.”

Among Stiles’ top tasks will be helping Black transition into the job that he didn’t land. 

Black will need someone to “help give him the lay of the land, in terms of who’s who and what’s what,” he said. 

“Obviously (Black) is going to be drinking water out of a fire hose,” said Stiles. “A million people are going to want to get in front of him and talk to him about their businesses, their projects, their organizations. At the same time, he’s got to run the day-to-day operations of the city. ”

 

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