Mallory Won’t Budge on Banks Inclusion
A day after the local NAACP and other groups demanded that the city expand a riverfront advisory panel to include four black members, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory said Tuesday that he opposed changing the panel’s makeup.
The NAACP, the Baptists Ministers Conference and about a dozen other groups dislike that five white men were the only appointees to The Banks Working Group. The five-person panel will make policy recommendations to quicken construction of the proposed Banks riverfront project, which envisions condominiums, offices, shops and a hotel between the Reds and Bengals stadiums.
Planned since 1999, the stalled project is expected to involve about $200 million in taxpayer money supplementing nearly $600 million in private investment. The NAACP and other groups dislike that an all-white, all-male panel will be drafting the policy for minority inclusion in contracting and hiring.
During his weekly press briefing, Mallory called minority inclusion and workforce development important, but reminded critics that any policies devised by the Banks Working Group are subject to city council approval.
“The structure of the Banks Working Group has already been agreed to by the city and the county, and that’s the structure we’re going to work with,” Mallory said. “I will not agree to any Banks deal that doesn’t have any inclusion or workforce development as part of it. … The buck stops with the elected leaders.”
The Banks Working Group will hold its first meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The session will be open to the public, but future meetings might be private, Mallory said.
— Kevin Osborne