CINCINNATI — Once the nine newly elected members of Cincinnati City Council take their oath of office Tuesday, they’ll have little time to settle in before they have to make tough decisions.
First and foremost is the projected $51.5 million dollar budget shortfall for 2010. City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr., has proposed a plan that could mean laying off 112 police officers and 47 firefighters.
City Hall observers are watching to see who sides with Mayor Mark Mallory in creating a five-member majority. The previous majority consisted of Democrats Laketa Cole, David Cowley, Greg Harris and Cecil Thomas plus Charterite Roxanne Qualls.
However, Crowley was term-limited and couldn’t run again, while Harris lost his bid for re-election.
Qualls was named Vice-Mayor on Monday by Mallory and newcomers include Democrat Laure Quinlivan and Republican Charles Winburn.
Winburn campaigned on a platform of not laying off police officers. That conicide with the views of Democrat Jeff Berding, Charterite Chris Bortz plus Republicans Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel.
Berding, Bortz, Ghiz and Monzel were in the minority the past two years on manyi votes. If Winburn sides with their positions, the balance of power on council would change.
Mayor Mallory says he assumes he has the support of nine members of council going forward, but the budget discussions could provide insight on how well city leaders get along the next two years.
The Mayor has refused to say what he likes or dislikes about the proposed 2010 budget. Instead, he’s going to fast-track it to the new councilmembers to get their views and hear from the public.