Mallory to Council: Disagree Agreeably

A day after a nasty debate between Cincinnati City Council factions about allegations that a budget deal was broken, Mayor Mark Mallory said Tuesday he would remind members of rules to keep decorum at public meetings.

At his weekly press briefing, Mallory said he didn’t like the tone of debate that occurred in Monday’s Finance Committee meeting. At the three-hour session, council members argued about how to spend a $1 million surplus from last year’s budget.

“I’m not happy with the way things turned out yesterday,” Mallory said at the briefing.

Although it’s understandable that council members express passion about their views, the mayor added, “As we display that passion, everyone needs to be aware of the rules … and the decorum I intend to maintain. There will be a reminder sent to council about those rules and strict adherence to them.”

A council majority consisting of Democrats Jeff Berding and Laketa Cole, Republicans Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel and Charterite Chris Bortz wants to delay allocating how to spend the surplus until they had more time to review upcoming expenses like the impact of contract negotiations with labor unions.

But the remainder of council — Democrats John Cranley, David Crowley and Cecil Thomas, along with Charterite Jim Tarbell — has said that violates a deal agreed to when the 2007-08 spending plan was approved in late December. Under the deal, $400,000 of the surplus was supposed to go toward human services agencies, while $600,000 went to items like the Cincinnati Human Relation Commission, the Cincinnati Film Commission and the yard waste and trash recycling programs.

The four-member bloc and Bortz signed a motion outlining the deal in December. On Monday each side of the debate accused the other of breaking various promises that led to the budget compromise.

After Mallory’s briefing, he met privately in Bortz’s office. Also attending the meeting was Monzel. The mayor is trying to broker a compromise to end the dispute, sources say.

— Kevin Osborne

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