STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Harry Black says as a former finance director and city manager, he helped lead Baltimore and Cincinnati to better financial foundations with less red tape and streamlined city services.
“Both of those cities are now on a very, very solid, positive path,” Black told FOX40 in a Skype call.
Now, Mayor Michael Tubbs hopes he will do the same for the city of Stockton as its newest city manager.
“Excited to have Harry Black as our new city manager,” Tubbs said. “We did a nationwide search and we found one of the best city managers in the business.”
Tubbs believes Black’s experience will help take Stockton to the next level.
“Finding solutions to homelessness, real economic development in our downtown and other places, and also making it so citizens understand what it is that we’re doing,” the mayor said.
Black and Tubbs say his record should speak for itself.
“I called references myself. The police chief in Cincinnati, city council in Cincinnati, Baltimore, everyone has raving reviews,” Tubbs said.
“Stockton is going to be getting a very seasoned, public executive,” Black said.
However, Black’s seasoned portfolio is also riddled with political strife.
According to Ohio newspaper and television reports, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley accused Black of retaliatory behavior in 2018.
“A lot of what you have outlined were situations that were really blown out of proportion for unfortunate, personal reasons,” Black said.
Cranley also questioned Black’s professionalism after he and top police officials visited a strip club, which Black says was blown out of proportion.
“Really nondescript, not a lot of clear-cut signage. We went in, we had a beer, we realized that, perhaps, this is not the place for us, and we immediately left and went back to the hotel,” Black told FOX40.
Political Consultant Lee Neves said whatever missteps Black has made should be used to make better decisions.
“That experience in Cincinnati would just make Mr. Black even just more conscious of any type of behavior that might even seem to cross that line,” Neves said.
Neves added if the chance at getting to know his staff arises, it may be better to vet the venue beforehand.
“If the city manager wanted to have some adult beverages with colleagues, that he might want to avail himself of one of our many wonderful Lodi wineries we have just up the road,” Neves said.
Black’s first official day as the city manager of Stockton is in mid-February.