The Administrative Code  

Article I. General
Article II. City Manager
Article III. Department Of Law
Article IV. Departments Of Police And Fire
Article V. Department Of Transportation And Engineering
Article VI. Director Of Public Works
Article VII. Reserved
Article VIII. City Water Works
Article IX. Department Of Finance
Article XI. Personnel Officer
Article XIV. Public Recreation Commission
Article XV. Retirement System
Article XVII. Residency Of City Employees
Article XVIII. Public Danger Or Emergency
Article XIX. Department Of Sewers
Article XX. Health Department
Article XXI. Department Of Buildings And Inspections (Repealed)
Article XXII. Regional Computer Center
Article XXIII. Department Of Economic Development
Article XXIV. Department Of Trade And Development
Article XXV. Department Of City Planning And Buildings
Article XXVI. Financial Disclosure Requirements
Article XXVII. Board Of Park Commissioners
Article XXVIII. Citizen Complaint Authority



Article II, Section 7 of the charter required the adoption by majority vote of council of an administrative code providing for a complete plan of administrative organization of the city government within six months of the adoption of the charter which occurred on November 2, 1926. Thereafter, except as provided specifically in the charter, council was authorized to change, abolish, combine and rearrange the departments, divisions, and board of the city government as provided for in the administrative code so adopted; but any ordinance creating, combining, abolishing, or decreasing the powers of any department, division, or board requires the approval by vote of three-quarters of the members elected to council.


The original administrative code contained nineteen articles and was adopted in 1927. It became Chapter 2 of Title II of the 1928 Code of Ordinances and did not include material covering boards, commissions and institutions of the city, which constituted Chapter 3 of Title II of the 1928 Code of Ordinances. Nor did it include supplementary administrative provisions, Chapter 4 of that title, which contained much material that eventually came to be placed within the administrative code.


A revised administrative code was adopted in 1930, reorganizing the governmental structure by reducing the number of departments and constituting several previously existing departments as divisions of other new departments. It was to a great extent the foundation of the present administrative code and contained thirteen articles, the last of which "Declaratory" became inoperative when transition adjustments from the 1927 administrative code to the 1930 administrative code were completed.

The 1930 administrative code was separate and distinct from the code of ordinances and appears in the 1936 publication of the recodification of the ordinances on pages 37 through 56. From 1930 to March 5, 1969, the administrative code changed relatively slowly, and in most instances involved only one or two articles of the code being altered at any particular time.

Changes which have occurred since 1930 will be set forth below chronologically. Only changes having substantial effect upon the functions and operations of the city governmental structure are included.

1940 AND 1941

At the end of 1940 an ordinance amending the administrative code by ordaining Section 6 of Article II, pertaining to the city manager, brought a significant change in the structure of the city government. The city solicitor was designated to perform the duties of the city manager in the absence or disability of the city manager.

At the same time Section 8 of Article III, Department of Law, was ordained to provide for the appointment of a first assistant solicitor and a second assistant solicitor who would assume the duties of solicitor during his absence or disability. The chain of command, therefore, for the administrative service of the city ran from the city manager to the city solicitor and from him to the first assistant solicitor and then to the second assistant solicitor.

This same period brought a substantial change in Article IV, Department of Safety, when Sections 8 and 15 of that article dealing with the city's own police and fire pension systems were invalidated by the Ohio Supreme Court in the case of Cincinnati v. Gamble, 138 O.S. 220. The decision dealt a substantial blow to the home rule authority of municipalities by expanding control by the state legislature over the operations, activities, administration, and functioning of municipal police departments. It was many years before the Supreme Court of Ohio took a more liberal view of the rights of municipalities to exercise discretion in regard to many aspects of police and fire administration.

In 1941 supervision of the city employees retirement system by the personnel officer was eliminated through the repeal of Article XI, Section 2 of the administrative code, and a new Article XV, Retirement System, was enacted. This article created a board of trustees to administer the system, provided that the trustees serve without compensation, provided for the organization of the board of trustees, and authorized it to make rules and regulations governing the administration of funds and the transaction of the board's business. The board was required to make annual fiscal reports to council and was required to designate a medical director to pass upon all medical examinations required by the system. The board was also required to designate an actuary to be its technical advisor. Provision was made for actuarial investigations in regard to mortality, service, and compensation service of members and beneficiaries of the retirement system and for evaluation of its assets and liabilities.


In September, 1946, council amended Section 5 of Article XIV of the administrative code, Public Recreation Commission, and repealed existing Sections 5 and 6 of that article to change the position of director of public recreation to that of superintendent of recreation and to specifically authorize him to carry out the police decisions made by the public recreation commission, of which the superintendent was made the secretary and chief administrative officer. He was also given authority to sign contracts for the services of umpires, referees, special directors, musicians, instructors, accompanists, and others who perform special and occasional duties on behalf of the recreation commission. Generally, he was to manage the facilities operated by the commission and direct and oversee its programs and activities.


In 1949 the charter of the city of Cincinnati was amended to provide for the creation by ordinance of council of a department of finance including the transfer to the director of finance of the duties of the city treasurer and city auditor. The creation of such a department, of course, reduced the positions of city treasurer and auditor to a level subordinate to the director of finance and made their duties dependent upon the administrative code rather than on the charter.

In 1950 council passed the ordinance to implement this charter provision. All sections of Article IX, formerly entitled City Treasurer, were repealed and an entire new chapter setting forth the powers and duties of the director of finance, the superintendent of accounts and audits, the city treasurer, and of the divisions under these individuals, was enacted. At the same time former Article XII, City Auditor, was repealed. These changes brought about a major revision of the governmental structure of the city of Cincinnati in relation to the handling of financial matters.

At the time of this change in the department of finance, Section 3 of Article I, General, and Section 3 of Article XV, Retirement System, were amended to delete references to the city treasurer and city auditor, and Ordinance No. 391-1950 was passed vesting in and imposing upon the director of finance all functions, powers and duties which were then devolved upon, vested in and imposed upon the city auditor.


In December of 1955 there was established in the department of finance the income tax bureau, headed by the tax commissioner. It was created for the administration and enforcement of city income taxes heretofore or hereafter levied.


In addition to the transfer of traffic engineering from the safety department to the department of public utilities, as was authorized two years before, 1956 saw what was to be the beginning of a program of great impact upon the city of Cincinnati when council, in April of that year, created the department of urban renewal and established the duties of the director of that department by ordaining Article XVI, Sections 1 and 2 of the administrative code.

The 1956 reprinting of the code of ordinances contained the administrative code, with all changes up to January 1, 1957, on pages 21 through 40.


The chain of command of the administrative services of the city altered again in 1957 to provide that in the absence of the city manager, the director of public works would be acting city manager. After the director of public works came the safety director, the director of finance, and the city solicitor, in that order. This amendment to Section 6 of Article II of the administrative code established the pattern of having several directors of city departments in line for the position of acting city manager in lieu of the city solicitor and the assistant solicitors.

Sections 1 and 3 of Article XV, Retirement System, were also modified in 1957 to increase the size of the board of trustees by two members, an additional trustee elected by the members of the system and a citizen appointed by the board. Concurring votes of five trustees were required by this amendment in order to constitute a decision of the board.


Article V, City Hospital, was amended in 1961 to provide that effective January 1, 1962, the administrative activities of the hospital would be placed under the directors of the University of Cincinnati. Section 1 of Article V was repealed in this change, which was made in accordance with the 1960 amendment of Article VI, Section 3 of the charter, authorizing the transfer of control and direction of administrative and executive work of the general hospital from the city manager to the board of director by action of council.


March, 1965, saw the creation of the division of convention and exposition center within the department of public works through ordaining of Section 3 of Article VI of the administrative code.


In June of 1967 residency requirements for city employees were placed in the administrative code by the adoption of Article XVII. Section 1 thereof provided that city employee may reside throughout Hamilton county. Certain exceptions were placed upon this restriction, permitting employees residing outside of Hamilton County to remain at their present address, allowing employees assigned to duties outside of Hamilton county to live outside the county, and exempting from the residency requirement employees where there is a shortage of qualified applicants as determined by the civil service commission. The city manager, department heads, chief administrative officers of boards and commissions and employees in a position to effectively recommend policy decisions were required, however, to reside within the corporate limits of the city of Cincinnati.


The month of April brought three important changes to the administrative code. Section 6 of Article II, City Manager, again changed the order of assumption of the reins of city manager by providing that in the absence of the city manager the acting city manager shall be the city solicitor. In the absence of the solicitor, the director of public works, the director of safety, and the director of finance, succeeded to the position of acting city manager in that order.

Article XVIII, Public Danger or Emergency, was ordained to establish procedures to be used and authority to be exercised by the city manager, the mayor, or the vice-mayor, in time of public danger or emergency. This chapter implements the provisions of Section 1, Article III of the charter which provides that in time of public danger or emergency the mayor may with the consent of council take command of the police, maintain order and enforce the law. By this article, council defined public danger or emergency and authorized the mayor or in his absence the vice-mayor to assume control when the danger or emergency occurred. Procedures for the transfer of authority to the mayor were specified, along with the duties of the city manager up until the time the mayor assumes control. The article provided for a procedure for proclamation of emergency, obtaining assistance from county, state, and federal authorities and imposing emergency sanctions such as curfew, restriction on traffic in firearms and explosives, and restriction of the sale of gasoline, other flammable or combustible products and dangerous chemicals. It provided for the notification of the members of council of emergency conditions existing in the city and provided for the state of emergency to terminate not later than two weeks from the time of its proclamation unless extended by council. Council retained authority to terminate the state of emergency at any time.

Article XIX, Department of Sewers, was ordained to give full departmental status to what was formerly a division within the department of public works. The department of sewers was given charge of the design, construction, repair, maintenance and operation of all sewers and sewerage treatment facilities in the city of Cincinnati and was authorized to perform these services for the Metropolitan Sewer District in accordance with a contract executed by the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton county. The department of sewers undertook the operation of all city and county sewers and sewerage treatment facilities on May 1, 1968.


On July 3, 1968, council approved a request from the mayor that a study be made of the organization of the city government. The Cincinnati Organization Study Committee was appointed and with the aid of professional consultants a review of the entire governmental structure was made and a report was submitted to council in February, 1969. The report included far-reaching recommendations which involved the city charter, state law, and the administrative code. After lengthy study and debate substantial parts of the recommendations were adopted.

Articles IX, Department of Finance, and XV, Retirement System, were amended to transfer the administrative staff of the city employees retirement system to the department of finance under the jurisdiction of the director, who also serves as secretary of the retirement system. This permitted them to be assigned duties in addition to those of administering the retirement funds; however, the system was still to be charged with the actual cost of administration of its business. The ordinance was adopted in November to be effective January 1, 1970.

Article IV, Department of Safety, Article VI, Department of Public Works, Article VII, Department of Public Utilities, and Article IX, Department of Sewers were amended, and Article XX, Health Department, was adopted by council in early December, 1969, and became effective January 2, 1970. The ordinance reassigned numerous divisions and functions of the city administration to other departments. A multitude of sections of the administrative code were modified or repealed. The title of the ordinance, No. 420-1969, summarizes the extensive changes made; it reads as follows:

"An Ordinance No. 420-1969

Modifying the provisions of the Administrative Code to transfer (1) from the Department of Public Works (a) the Convention and Exposition Center to the Department of Public Utilities, (b) the Municipal Garage to the Department of Public Utilities, (c) Property Maintenance to the Department of Public Utilities and (d) Public Wharves, Docks and Landings to the Department of Public Utilities; (2) from the Department of Public Utilities (a) Traffic Engineering and Utility Maintenance to the Department of Public Works and (b) Public Vehicle Control to the Department of Safety; (3) from the Department of Safety (a) Building Regulation and Heating Inspection to the Department of Public Works, (b) Air Pollution Control to the Metropolitan Sewer District and (c) Inspection of Markets, Weights, and Measures to the Health Department; and to establish administration of public stadia in the Department of Public Utilities by amending the provisions of Section 2 of Article IV, Sections 2 and 3 of Article VI, and Section 2 of Article VII, and by ordaining supplementary Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of Article VI, Section 3 of Article VII, Section 6 of Article XIX and Section 1 of Article XX and by repealing existing Sections 2, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 24, 25, 28, 28a, 29 and 30 of Article IV, Sections 2 and 3 of Article VI and Section 2 of Article VII."


In June, 1971, council created the board of housing appeals by ordaining Section 14 of Article VI. This was done after a review of appellate procedure in housing code violation cases indicated that the existing board of building standards and appeals was not an adequate appellate medium in that area.


The Cincinnati fire prevention board of appeals was created by ordaining Section 12 of Article IV in order to provide an appeal mechanism for decisions rendered under the provisions of the Cincinnati Fire Prevention Code.


Article VI, Section 15, of the administrative code was ordained by council to create a board of engineering appeals to hear and rule upon appeals from orders of the director of public works pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 737 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code, Excavation, Grading or Filling of Land.


Sections 4 and 6 of Article II and Section 20 of Article IX were amended while supplementary sections, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of Article II were ordained in order to reorganize the city manager's office. A deputy city manager and three assistant managers were provided for by these sections as was an administrative assistant. Preparation of the budget was assigned to a research, evaluation and budget officer under the reorganization plan. A regional computer center within the city manager's office was also established as part of the change. The deputy city manager as well as the three assistant city managers were inserted in the order of succession as acting city manager in the manager's absence. This reorganization was implemented by passage of Ordinance No. 69-1975, and Ordinance No. 321-1975 amended the effective date of Ordinance No. 68-1975 to be June 29, 1975.


A separate department of data processing services to be known as the regional computer center was established by the creation of Article XXII, Sections 1 and 2 by Ordinance No. 406-1976, data processing having formerly been a division under the office of the city manager.

Ordinance No. 470-1976 modified the administrative code to reorganize a portion of the planning and development functions of the department of urban development by creating a department of development, Article XXIII, and rearranging the duties of the directors of public works and buildings and inspections.


It was determined by the council in 1977 that city employees would be more effective and available if they were required to be residents of the city of Cincinnati and therefore amended Article XVII to require that all persons appointed to the city service be residents of the city of Cincinnati at the time of their appointment and continue to maintain their primary place of residence within the city during their continued service with the city. This was accomplished by Ordinance No. 258-1977 and amended by Ordinance No. 358-1977 which provided that persons who had purchased real estate outside of the city but within Hamilton county could establish the address outside the city as their primary place of residence provided the residency was established by October of the following year. The residency requirement was again amended by Ordinance No. 483-1977 to provide that council might exempt from the requirements persons appointed to positions for which no qualified city residents applied, and especially valued employees upon a showing of undue hardship.

Once again Article II, Section 11 was amended to alter the line of succession in the event of disability or absence of the city manager. Ordinance No. 345-1977 provided that during the disability of the city manager the duties of the city manager would be performed first by the deputy city manager, then the city solicitor, the director of finance and the director of public works.


A division of risk management under the department of finance was created with the ordaining of Article IX, Section 22 by Ordinance No. 205-1978. The risk manager was assigned the duties of protecting the city against financial consequences of loss and to create a system of internal procedures to provide constant reassessment of exposure to loss.


Article IX, Department of Finance, was amended by Ordinance No. 71-1979 to create a separate deputy director of finance to perform the duties of the director in the case of absence or disability, such position formerly being capable of being filled only by the city treasurer.

In preparation for republication of the code, numerous minor changes were made in the text of various code sections by Ordinance Number 299-1979 in order to update language and remove obsolete provisions. The two most significant alterations were the repeal of Article V, City Hospitals, and Article XVI, Department of Urban Development.


Article II, Section 13 was adopted by Ordinance No. 10-1980 to create an Office of Municipal Investigation to provide for independent investigations of allegations of serious misconduct.

Amending Article XVII, Section 2 by Ordinance No. 187-1980 to provide that the city manager, department heads, deputy city manager, assistant to the city manager, fire chief and police chief must be city residents.


Articles I, II, XXI, XXIII and XXIV were ordained by Ordinance No. 183-1981 to provide for two deputy city manager positions and to provide for the creation of the departments of economic development and neighborhood housing and conservation. Conflicting sections of Articles I, II, XIX, XXI and XXIII were repealed.


Article II, Section 15 was ordained by Ordinance No. 50-1982 to create an internal audit division directly under the supervision of the city manager to examine and evaluate the efficiency of all city departments, boards and commissions.

New Article XXV was ordained by Ordinance No. 58-1982 to the department of city planning for the purpose of providing professional services to the planning commission on matters affecting the physical improvement and development of the city.


Article XVII, Section 1 was amended by Ordinance No. 33-1985 to provide that city employees originally hired after January 1, 1985 must live within the city of Cincinnati and to provide that those employees originally hired prior to January 1, 1985 must live within Hamilton County.


Article II, Section 17 was ordained by Ordinance No. 82-1988 to create a Division of Employee Safety, Risk Management and Employee Health Services under the direct control of the city manager to implement a city-wide safety and risk management program.

Article XV, Section 1 was amended by Ordinance No. 398-1988 to provide that the Board of Trustees of the Retirement System be increased to eleven members by the addition of the director of finance and one member selected by the Board from the retirees.


New Article XXVI was ordained by Ordinance No. 370-1989 to require financial disclosure statements from policy level city employees.


New Article XXVII was ordained by Ordinance No. 413-1990 to transfer urban forestry responsibilities, previously held by the director of public works, to the board of park commissioners.


The first administrative code was adopted in 1927 and was completely revised in 1930. The 1930 administrative code with numerous amendments and supplementary articles constitute the administrative code published herein. Only articles and sections presently in effect are printed. The reader is referred to the preceding historical note and prior publications of the code of ordinances for information and text of the administrative code as it existed heretofore. Footnotes and annotations cover only changes occurring after January 1, 1957.