Monday, January 21, 2002

Reece supports Lemmie for city manager

Announcement on radio talk show

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece pledged Sunday to support Mayor Charlie Luken's city manager nominee during her father's radio talk show on WDBZ-FM (1240), “The Buzz.”

        The nominee — 49-year-old Dayton City Manager Valerie Lemmie — was a call-in guest.

        “I wanted to be able to tell you first-hand that I will be voting, "Yes,' for Valerie Lemmie ... as our next city manager,” Ms. Reece told Ms. Lemmie on-air during father Steve Reece's weekly talk show.

        Ms. Reece was the last member of Cincinnati City Council to endorse Ms. Lemmie, leading some to perceive a rift between the two high-ranking, black female city officials.

List of priorities
               Ms. Reece said during the talk show that she hoped to “dispel the myth” that she and Ms. Lemmie could not work together.

        “We don't agree on all issues,” Ms. Reece told Ms. Lemmie. “But I really think we have an opportunity because of the issues and the passion that you have, and the issues and the passion that I have that we can work together.”

        Ms. Reece said she held back her approval of Ms. Lemmie — who was first announced as a candidate more than a week ago — because she hadn't had a chance to meet in person and discuss with her a list of eight priorities she had outlined in a memo to the mayor.

        That list includes: supporting the Citizens Police Review Panel, including small businesses in city contracts and releasing information to council members before the public.

Respect and admiration
               “There were eight questions, eight things that the citizens had wanted me to make sure I asked whoever the selection person was prior to me making a decision,” Ms. Reece said. “I made a promise to the City of Cincinnati that I would do just that.”

        Ms. Lemmie met with all nine council members Saturday in accordance with Cincinnati's new system of selecting a city manager, which says council members must have a chance to interview candidates before they are formally nominated.

        After their meeting, both women expressed respect and admiration for one another during the radio broadcast.

        Said Ms. Lemmie: “I really look forward to working with you. We share the same values. We share the same vision, and we have had many of the same life experiences.”

        Mr. Luken said Saturday that he expects council to unanimously approve Ms. Lemmie this week.


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