Payback Looms for Budget Fight

Lingering bitterness from Cincinnati City Council’s recent political battle over passing a 2007-08 budget could rear its head today, as council members grumble behind the scenes about possibly blocking two mayoral appointees in a tit-for-tat showdown.

At its 7 p.m. meeting, city council is expected to vote on recommendations by Mayor Mark Mallory on appointing Councilman David Crowley to the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District (TID) and reappointing Councilman John Cranley to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI).

Despite the Alphabet Soup monikers, the appointments involve helping make important policy decisions for the region and are hotly sought after by city council members. The TID board oversees transportation planning in the area and decides which road projects are priorities; OKI coordinates projects among area cities and townships and helps allocate some federal grants.

A group of five council members — Jeff Berding, Chris Bortz, Laketa Cole, Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel — reportedly are considering voting against Cranley’s OKI reappointment. The faction sparred with Cranley over budget changes in heated negotiations last month that lasted well past midnight over several days.

The action partially is sparked by Mallory’s recommendation to appoint Crowley to the TID board. Berding was the city’s TID representative last year, but he publicly defied the mayor during December’s budget impasse. Mallory agreed with suggested budget changes endorsed by Cranley and Crowley and not the steeper cuts sought by Berding’s five-member faction.

Mallory has said he recommended appointing Crowley to recognize the long-serving councilman’s interest in transportation issues, sources said. Other council members, who are still upset over what they call a manipulative budget approval process, want to block Cranley’s reappointment to OKI if Berding isn’t reappointed to the TID board.

“The mayor and his supporters say reappointing Cranley is needed because he’s still on council and it’s a matter of consistency,” a City Hall source said. “Well, Berding is still on council, too. They can’t have it both ways.”

— Kevin Osborne

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3 Comments on “Payback Looms for Budget Fight”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Cranley, as Chabot pointed out, never showed up to the Retirement Board meetings. I bet the same is true of OKI meetings…

  2. Not the Mamma Cass! Says:

    CityBeat Butt Boy Chris Smitherman was on the TID Board. Things are so much better now for his involvement.

  3. anonymous Says:

    Berding is bad, bad news.

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