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National Civic League report recommends scaling back Cincinnati mayor's power

Cincinnati City Hall
Posted at 11:05 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 23:05:45-05

CINCINNATI — Authors of the National Civic League's report on Cincinnati government Tuesday discussed their findings and recommendations for reform following a "culture of corruption" in City Hall.

The report, put together at the request of the Murray and Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation, analyzes Cincinnati's current government and compares it to governments in similar cities before recommending changes to improve its "functionality and integrity."

Several changes were recommended, including limiting the mayor's legislative and administrative powers. The report says Cincinnati is the only city they looked at in which the mayor receives the budget before council members and can hire or fire the city manager. While Cincinnati still has a council-manager form of government, the reports says the mayor's authority has increased considerably.

"The mayor’s legislative and administrative powers should be scaled back to return the city’s governance to a more professionally-managed system and increase the influence of the legislative body," the report says.

In returning to a more "professionally-managed system," the report says the city manager should stand as the city's CEO, the council as the chief legislative body and mayor as the city's political leader. The city manager, the report says, should not be fired based on a recommendation from the mayor but instead be fired by a majority council vote.

The report also suggests the city consider changing the structure of council seats, including having some council members selected by district to allow for better representation. The report also recommends extending term limits to four years with staggering start dates.

The entire report, co-authored by National Civic League President Doug Linkhart, Research Director Mike McGrath and UNC School of Government Professor Kimberly Nelson, can be found here.

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