Thursday, April 10, 2003

Panel may rule against Cranley

Ex-staffer claims discrimination

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Councilman John Cranley probably engaged in racial discrimination when he laid off an African-American staffer and replaced him with Cranley's high-school friend and campaign manager, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission is expected to find today.

Cranley denies the accusation.

The charges arise out of Cranley's decision to lay off Larry Frazier, 51, who had been an aide to Councilman Todd Portune.

When Portune was elected a Hamilton County commissioner in 2000, City Council Democrats appointed Cranley to replace him.

Cranley kept Frazier on until he was elected to a full term in 2001, when he hired Elliot Ruther, a friend from St. Xavier High School who had taken a leave from the City Council office to run Cranley's campaign.

Frazier claims he had seniority in Cranley's office, and was subjected to "disparate treatment."

Cranley said other staffers - some of whom had experience in his 2000 congressional campaign and on Capitol Hill - all had college degrees (Frazier did not), and that it was always understood that Frazier's employment was temporary.

"How can he say that?" Frazier said Wednesday. "He admitted that during his last stint on council, I helped train him."

Cranley said it was "ludicrous" to suggest that he needed Frazier to show him the ropes at City Hall.

"The only thing Larry provided was, 'The clerk's office is down the hall, and here's the code to the copying machine,'" he said.

Representing Cranley at the Civil Rights Commission will be City Solicitor J. Rita McNeil, the former head of the Civil Rights Division of the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

McNeil said state investigators have told her they will recommend that the commission find probable cause that Cranley violated the law.

"I find this situation very curious, and that's why I personally got involved," McNeil said. "There are things that have happened in this case that I do not feel are routine or normal."

McNeil said that Charlie Winburn, a former Cincinnati councilman and a member of the Civil Rights Commission, should recuse himself.

Winburn did not return a phone call seeking comment.

If the commission finds probable cause, the case will go to an administrative hearing.


War news better, but still worrisome
Local soldier on TV in Iraq
Girl Scouts support troops
Vigils, Meetings, Rallies
Keeping in touch

Airport scans all checked bags now
Twitty car wreck remains mystery
Catholic students gather to call for end to Iraq war
Kids already giving back to community
Booth ends 5-year stint serving on City Council
Panel may rule against Cranley
Suit says city violated labor act by cutting OT
Tristate A.M. Report

PULFER: Gorman Farm
Some Good News

Popular tavern draws complaints
Monroe budget deficit brings talk of cuts or higher taxes
Beer might liven up next Freedom Fest
Home repair funding sought
Switcheroo planned by GOP
MRDD services won't be withheld
Development gains tax package

House to decide on gambling
U.S. Senate panel OKs ethanol bill
Mega Millions profits underwhelming
Ohio Moments

Airport pays church $3.2M
Ky. Democratic candidates gather to hash out issues in forum at NKU
Club blames fire on contractors, building owners
Wal-Mart strictures settled
Woman, 31, found dead in pickup submerged in river
Judge delays trial in death of toddler
Two men charged in Georgetown slaying
Ky. to open six new courses
Obituary: Edra Black, widow of former Enquirer editor