Mayor-elect John Cranley, next City Council plan two swearing-in ceremonies

Mandatory 11 a.m event conflicts with church

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati’s next mayor and City Council are taking a cue from President Obama on Inauguration Day.

Just as Obama took his oath of office twice in January, Mayor-elect John Cranley and council members will do likewise on Dec. 1.

In the president’s case, Obama was sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts during a private ceremony on Jan. 20, the date mandated by the Constitution. Because it was a Sunday, a public swearing-in event was held the next day when courts and other public institutions were open and security personnel wouldn't be required to work over the weekend.

Cincinnati’s charter requires the city’s elected officials take their oaths of office at 11 a.m. Dec. 1. With that date falling on a Sunday this year, however, two ceremonies are planned.

The first, actual swearing-in will occur at 11 a.m. in council chambers at City Hall.

Because many supporters and clergy will be in church at that time, a second symbolic ceremony will held at 2 p.m., tentatively at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

The larger venue also will allow more people to attend. Typically when the event is held at City Hall, seating is limited and some people are turned away.

The only business Cranley and the next City Council will take on Dec. 1 is organizing the group. Cranley is expected to announce his choices for vice mayor and committee chairs at the 11 a.m. session.

Potentially controversial items like taking votes to stop construction on Cincinnati’s streetcar project, void a parking lease with the Port Authority and allocating money to build an interchange at Interstate 71 and Martin Luther King Drive will be delayed until another day.

The 2 p.m. session will include the pomp and circumstance usually associated with the swearing-in ceremonies. It will include an Honor Guard, speeches by the newly elected officials and having each of the oaths administered by a person selected by the office-holder.

Cranley hasn’t yet decided whom he will ask to administer his oath. But the mayor-elect will have his son, Joseph, hold the Bible during the event.

The next City Council will include three non-incumbents joining the ranks: Charterite Kevin Flynn, Democrat David Mann and Republican Amy Murray.

Flynn has asked Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney (D-North Avondale) to give him the oath.

Mann will receive the oath from his son and law partner, Michael Mann.

Murray will be sworn in by Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz, a former city councilwoman.

Council incumbents who won reelection are Democrats Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson, P.G. Sittenfeld and Wendell Young; Republican Charlie Winburn; and independent Christopher Smitherman.

Sittenfeld will take the oath from his parents, Paul and Betsy Sittenfeld, whom he describes as his “best friends.”

Young will receive the oath from Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Cheryl Grant.

Smitherman will take the oath from Ohio Court of Appeals Judge Penelope Cunningham, wife of WLW (700 AM) talk show host Bill Cunningham.

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