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Cincinnati city manager Patrick Duhaney to be sworn in as Virginia Beach city manager

Duhaney resigned at City Hall Tuesday afternoon
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Posted at 10:59 AM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 16:23:22-04

CINCINNATI — Patrick Duhaney resigned as Cincinnati city manager Tuesday to be sworn in as city manager of Virginia Beach. He will depart in July, staying with the city until the end of the latest budget cycle.

As he announced his resignation at City Hall Tuesday afternoon, Duhaney reflected on his "turbulent" start shortly after the death of Kyle Plush, the roadblocks faced with Columbia Parkway repairs and the latest challenges he, the mayor and City Council faced during his tenure.

“To think about the different things that we’ve traversed just in our short time together, it’s incomprehensible,” Duhaney said in the joint briefing with Mayor John Cranley.

Virginia Beach City Council voted 9-2 Tuesday afternoon to approve the ordinance for Duhaney’s employment contract.

Duhaney will be Virginia Beach's first black city manager and oversee a $2 billion budget and about 7,000 full-time employees, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Virginia Beach has a larger population than the Queen City.

City solicitor Paula Boggs Muething will serve as Cincinnati's acting city manager, according to a series of emails between Duhaney, Muething and Mayor John Cranley.

Muething will be the second woman in Cincinnati history to hold the position of city manager and the first Asian American, according to Cranley. She grew up in rural Kentucky and joined Cincinnati government in 2006 as a city lawyer, where she learned firsthand "that government can have a positive influence in people’s lives."

“I think over the past few months citizens have realized how important city government is, especially in the health realm,” she said.

Duhaney’s succession plan had called for assistant city manager Chris Bigham and then Muething to succeed him. In an email, Bigham said he is unable to serve as city manager, so Muething will assume the role.

“In 2018 when I had to name my successors, I had no hesitation naming Paula,” Duhaney said.

Muething was appointed city solicitor on Dec. 29, 2014. Prior, she was general counsel and vice president of community revitalization of The Port, a litigator at the city of Cincinnati's law department and a lawyer at the Downtown firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp.

Duhaney has served as city manager since the resignation of former city manager Harry Black in 2018. Unlike Black's tumultuous tenure, Duhaney was known for running the city smoothly while staying out of the political fray of City Hall.

"I am heartbroken. You have been by far the best manager I have ever worked with," Cranley wrote in an email to Duhaney on Tuesday morning. "Impeccable integrity and constant professionalism, you are a servant leader that is able to lead by moral force and conviction-based resolve."

Duhaney will leave Cincinnati in mid-July, after he guides the city council through a difficult budget which must be passed by July 1.

Cranley said now is a pivotal time to transition between city managers with the "trifecta of pandemic, racial injustice," and the "worst budget deficit in 100 years." Right now, he says he doesn’t have time in the short term to think about a national search for Duhaney’s replacement.

“In the moment it is about getting through without missing a beat, the many things that we are dealing with ... any one of which would be considered an emergency," Cranley said.

Prior to being sworn in as city manager in December 2018, Duhaney served as assistant city manager and as the city’s chief procurement officer overseeing the purchasing division of the finance department. He began his career with the city in 2009 as a contract compliance specialist.

Duhaney is a U.S. Army combat veteran, serving on active duty and in the reserves from 1999 to 2015 under combat engineer and ordnance commands.

Cincinnati City Council member Greg Landsman said in a statement that Duhaney is one of the most talented city managers Cincinnati has ever had.

“He has led us through so much in such a short period of time, and I am grateful for his leadership and his impact on our City. He has made us better," Landsman said.

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman also wished Duhaney well, calling him "the total package" and a "top City Manager" on Tuesday.