Mallory Says His Bodyguard Isn’t a Bodyguard

Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. and City Manager Milton Dohoney today were dragged into the political fight between the mayor and city council about who should pay for the mayor’s bodyguard.

After council’s Finance Committee voted Monday to begin the process of transferring the bodyguard’s expense from the Police Department’s budget to the mayor’s office, Dohoney wrote a memo to council today saying he supports letting police pay for the bodyguard.

Dohoney, who was selected for his job by Mayor Mark Mallory, wrote, “It is a legitimate expense for the police department to bear in dispensing this duty. Ensuring the protection of the ‘office’ and inherently the person who holds it is not a personal perk imparted to the incumbent or any ancillary benefit, similar to a non-profit (agency) that may pay for police services for a person/event they are sponsoring.”

The memo continued, “The transfer of a slot and subsequent budget for the office implies that they are no longer a police officer on par with any other components of the authorized strength.”

Some council members, including Leslie Ghiz, replied that any such implication is irrelevant to the debate. Further, Ghiz wrote a memo of her own responding to Dohoney, reminding him that council didn’t request a report from him or ask him to weigh in on the debate.

“As our city manager, you are restricted to an administrative role,” Ghiz wrote. “Issuing a report on pending legislation is not one of your duties as city manager. For the sake of saving your time and ours, and more importantly the taxpayers of Cincinnati, do not issue reports, studies, or opinions on legislation unless council directs you to do so.”

Mallory specifically requested Police Spec. Scotty Johnson — a longtime friend — as his bodyguard in April. Through June, the police department paid more than $5,300 for 126 hours of overtime lodged by Johnson in his duties. At that pace, the department would be paying almost $30,000 in overtime to Johnson by year’s end, in addition to his $58,000 annual salary. Some council members said the expense is inappropriate at a time when city departments are making cuts to ward off a deficit.

Later in the afternoon, Councilman Cecil Thomas asked Streicher to appear before the Law Committee to answer questions on various topics. Among them, Thomas — who supports having police pay for Mallory’s bodyguard — asked the chief to give his opinion. Streicher declined, saying the matter was a policy decision best left to the mayor and council.

Streicher did say, however, that it was appropriate for Johnson to accompany Mallory over the past weekend to Pittsburgh. Mallory went to pay off a friendly bet on football with that city’s mayor, and Mallory and Johnson watched Sunday’s Bengals-Steelers game from a private luxury suite at Heinz Field. Because Mallory conducted city business while on the trip, including meeting with Pittsburgh’s planning director and fire chief on Saturday, it was necessary for Johnson to tag along, the chief said. It’s unclear if Johnson will be paid overtime for the period spent watching the football game.

Mallory is opposed to having his office pay for the bodyguard’s expense, and his staff has talked with council members in an attempt to persuade them to drop the effort. Councilman Chris Bortz, who wants Mallory’s office to pay the expense, described the attempts as heavy-handed and “petty politics.”

During his weekly press briefing this afternoon, Mallory said that calling Johnson a bodyguard was a misnomer.

“First off, I don’t have a bodyguard,” he said. “It’s a security detail assigned to me by the chief of police.”

Asked to explain the difference, Mallory replied that a security detail provides protection for all members of the mayor’s staff, not just him.

In most instances, city council votes on proposals that make it out of committee during the same week, which means a decision on paying Johnson’s salary typically would be made Wednesday. But the mayor decides on the precise timing and can delay any vote up to two weeks. Asked today when the vote would occur, Mallory replied, “At this point, I have no idea.”

— Kevin Osborne

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10 Comments on “Mallory Says His Bodyguard Isn’t a Bodyguard”

  1. Yossarian Says:

    ghiz is a small petty person. Our City Manager has direct insight of the workings of City Hall and you would think that she would be thankful for an opinion that was well though out and researched. BUT NOOOOO! Since it disagreed with her, she treated Mr. Dohoney like a misbehaving child.

    She will do anything to get her name in the papers. Grandstanding ghiz has struck again!!!

  2. Jesus Christ Says:

    I was really worried about the Mayor’s staff being unprotected. This move has put my mind at ease.

  3. sandye Says:

    this is such B.S. as if anyone else in the “Mayor’s office” would *require* ” a security detail” of any kind.

    i had such high hopes for this guy, unfortunately, he seems to be even more of a cipher than anybody else who’s held the office in my memory.

    what, in all of this time, can he actually point to as a real accomplishment? the biggest things he’s known for doing right now are, in a grand gesture, abolishing the metal detectors in city hall and then ordering up a personal bodyguard for himself. and this doesn’t even count the SWAT team supposedly assigned to stand guard in city council chambers during meetings! i can think of no reason to vote for him again next time.


  4. It doesn’t seem like Kevin Osborne, Leslie Ghiz, Chris Bortz or Tom Streicher have ever read the Charter of Cincinnati?

    The Charter vests Council with legislative power; it vests the City Manager with executive and administrative power. The City Manager’s job is, among other things, to supervise the administration of the affairs of the city, and, to make all appointments and removals in the administrative and executive service.

    The decision to assign a Cincinnati Police officer to a security detail is a personnel decision, not a legislative one. Therefore the decision is the City Manager’s to make, not Council’s.

    Ghiz and Bortz are grandstanding. And they are violating the Charter. Not only are they attempting to usurp the City Manager’s authority to make personnel decisions, Leslie Ghiz is trying to stop the City Manager from exercising his right to discuss any matter coming before the Council.

    Ghizzy is a dummy. The City Manager is not restricted to an administrative role, he is the City’s chief executive officer. And, again, this isn’t a legislative matter it is a personnel matter. But even if it were a legislative matter, issuing a report or making a comment upon pending legislation is well within the City Manager’s authority.

    Christopher Smitheman thought he was Chief Streicher’s boss and Ghizzy seems to think she is the City Manager’s boss. They are both wrong. Ghizzy’s attempt to silence the City Manager and stop him from issuing reports, studies, or opinions on legislation unless directed to do so by Council is out of order and in violation of the Charter.

  5. Kunta Kinte Says:

    Ghiz seems to have a problem with Black men in authority. Why else would she continually attack the Mayor and now is turning her wrath towards the city manager.


  6. Nate, just because I blog about something, please don’t assume I agree with it. As I am also a reporter, I view my role as a blogger merely to inform people about topics that may not be covered elsewhere, or to provide deeper context or perspective than some other media outlets.

    Secondly, although you’re correct that city council doesn’t handle personnel matters under the charter, council does control budgeting matters. I think what council members are saying to Mayor Mallory is if you truly believe you need a bodyguard, pay for it out of your own budget.

    Also, and this is a point I plan on blogging about in the future, people at City Hall raise the valid point that if Mallory needs a bodyguard, let it be a rotating officer selecetd by the CPD and thus avoid overtime expenses. It’s the OT that is driving the cost of this up. (Of course, OT also makes an officer get a higher pension once he/she retires.)

    Kunta, playing the race card too often is what causes some people to become immune when there are incidents of true racism. It’s the “boy who cried wolf” syndrome. Lovely screen name, BTW.

  7. Every Cincinnatian Says:

    May we have “a security detail assigned to [us] by the chief of police”, PLEASE!!!!

  8. Bertie Wooster Says:

    Ask anyone at City Hall, on the CPD or the HCSO exactly why Mallory wants Scotty exclusively. You’ll get the same answer from every single one of them. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

  9. Bertie Wooster Says:

    Ask anyone who works at City Hall, on the CPD or the HCSO exactly why Mallory wants Scotty exclusively. You’ll get the same answer from every single one of them. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.


  10. Kevin wrote: “As I am also a reporter, I view my role as a blogger merely to inform people about topics that may not be covered elsewhere, or to provide deeper context or perspective than some other media outlets.”

    That’s cool.

    Kevin wrote: “Secondly, although you’re correct that city council doesn’t handle personnel matters under the charter, council does control budgeting matters. I think what council members are saying to Mayor Mallory is if you truly believe you need a bodyguard, pay for it out of your own budget.”

    This is where I fault you for not asking the right questions. As a reporter who views his role as providing deeper context, why wouldn’t you ask how Mayor Mallory could possibly take money from his office budget and use it to pay a civil servant? It seems to me that this would not only violate the charter, it would also violate state civil service laws. You’ve been for enough years now that you surely must understand this problem with Ghiz’s proposal, even if she is too dense to get it.

    Said another way, as the reporter, why not think Ghiz’s proposal through and ask her about the consequences of it. “Hey, Ghizzy, assume your motion is passed and Mayor Mallory begins paying Scotty Johnson from his office budget. Wouldn’t that make Specialist Johnson a member of Mayor Mallory’s staff? Wouldn’t he then be allowed to do all the political things Mayor Mallory’s staff members can do that other city employees can’t do because of civil service rules, like contributing money to council candidates?”

    And why not ask Ghizzy about her inconsistent approach to this issue. Why isn’t she demanding that Council pay for police protection out of their budget? I’ve been in Council meetings with dozens of onduty, uniformed cops. Those cops aren’t paid from Council’s budget but they are protecting the council. Good reporters can take goofy ideas like Ghizzy’s and report on them in a way that the public understands that the politician is grandstanding. That’s what needs to happen here.

    Kevin wrote: “Also, and this is a point I plan on blogging about in the future, people at City Hall raise the valid point that if Mallory needs a bodyguard, let it be a rotating officer selecetd by the CPD and thus avoid overtime expenses. It’s the OT that is driving the cost of this up. (Of course, OT also makes an officer get a higher pension once he/she retires.)”

    Oh, my God! Since when does Council give a damn about police overtime!? I seem to remember that the CPD was audited and the findings showed that certain officers (certain white officers) were doubling their salary through working overtime hours. Why shouldn’t Scotty Johnson be able to profit just like the white guys did?

    And why is this an issue now? When Charlie Luken was the mayor, Chief Streicher assigned certain cops to guard Chambers during Council meetings. Those meetings sometimes lasted hours. Nobody questioned who was paying those cops. And nobody questioned if they were working overtime hours.

    I think the media has a responsibility to do more than follow the line given to them by politicians. Sometimes reporters have to say to themselves, ok, the politician wants me to write that this story is about a “political fight between the mayor and city council about who should pay for the mayor’s bodyguard” but I’m going to be independent, do my research, then explain that it really is about (1) an immature, attention-seeking politician trying to grab headlines and embarrass the mayor at the same time, (2) an attempt by power-hungry politicians to usurp powers reserved to the professional city manager, and (3) an assault on the non-political requirements of the civil service system.

    I’ve always expected more from you Mr. Osborne. Now, straighten up and fly right!


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