Curp speaks at GSG Luncheon

Interim Manager Curp speaks to GSG Luncheon

Interim City Manager John Curp addressed Government Strategies Group's Connections Luncheon on Thursday, March 17th.

Government Strategies Group recently welcomed Interim City Manager John Curp at a luncheon held in downtown Cincinnati overlooking Fountain Square. Curp was appointed by Mayor Aftab Pureval and Cincinnati City Council in January. Curp previously served as City Solicitor from 2008 – 2014 before moving to a private law firm. In late 2021, he was tapped by Mayor Pureval to serve as his Interim City Manager while the Mayor’s national search for a permanent City Manager continues. Curp is a candidate for the permanent position.

Cincinnati’s city government operates as a Mayor-Manager form of government, with the Mayor and City Council setting policy direction and the City Manager overseeing day-to-day operations. Mayor Aftab Pureval spoke to a GSG lunch in February and shared his vision and policy priorities for the city. John Curp noted his role is to provide confidence to the community that the day-to-day operations of government are as free from political interference. He believes the newly elected City Council has been especially respectful of that division in our government.

Coming out of COVID, Curp said the city administration has been operating in silos. He is committed to breaking those silos down by encouraging cross-department interaction and bringing all department heads to the table to collaborate. He noted recruiting and retaining talent is a challenge for city government as well as the private sector. He wants young people to come up through the ranks and see public service and government services as a good career path.

One of Curp’s priorities is community engagement. “As the Mayor and I are telling people, it’s not a cliché for this Administration, it is something we are going to live by,” he said. The city is working on its community engagement plan now and wants the community to truly feel that they have a voice in their government, especially those who do not feel like their voice is heard. The first test for this new desire for community engagement will be hiring a new Police Chief. The city will hire a consultant to coordinate a city-wide engagement process. While the hiring of the Police Chief is Curp’s decision, he hopes there will be community consensus around the best candidate, including a public town hall with two finalist candidates answering questions from the community.

Regarding the budget, Curp laid out a critical situation. He shared that in 2025 the city is projected to face a $50 million decrease in earnings tax revenue due to COVID remote working. The city’s projected growth is expected to be $12 million, leaving a large projected deficit. To offset the expected future deficit, the administration will recommend that the Mayor and Council hold back the remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to fill the reserves. The administration encouraging businesses to bring their employees back to work, revitalizing our business districts and increasing the city’s income tax revenue stream. The Administration is looking at how to package development deals to attract businesses and create jobs.

Curp acknowledged that Council’s top priority has been affordable housing. He pointed to a recent success with the Macy’s project which will bring 300 new housing units to downtown in the former corporate headquarters office space.

Curp’s remarks were well received by the audience, many who had worked with him when he served as City Solicitor. “We’re in good hands,” said Chip Gerhardt in closing remarks.

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Anne C. Sesler

Director of Public Affairs

Anne Sesler brings more than twenty years’ experience in public affairs consulting to Government Strategies Group. Anne works with local elected officials, state legislators, reporters and community leaders on behalf of corporate and non-profit clients developing community outreach and engagement strategies, conducts media relations, builds grassroots support for projects, and conducts communication with stakeholders and legislators.

Anne lends her public policy and political communication experience beyond GSG to her role as Vice Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Over the years, she’s offered political counsel to both state and local campaigns, including Preschool Promise, Ohio Jobs and Growth (the casino ballot initiative), United for Jobs and Ohio’s Future (Third Frontier), and many others. Anne lives in Mt. Lookout with her husband, Bryan.

Focus areas: 

  • Local government relations
  • Coalition building
  • Media relations and communications
  • Crisis communications

Driven by:

  • Making Cincinnati a better place for all

In the community:

  • Leadership Cincinnati Class 47
  • Cincinnati Planning Commission member
  • Lunken Airport Oversight and Advisory Board Chair
  • Cincinnati Democratic Committee Co-Chair
  • Hamilton County Democratic Party, Vice Chair
  • Mt. Lookout Community Council member

Charles “Chip” Gerhardt

President & CEO

Chip Gerhardt has made government affairs, economic development, and issue advocacy his life’s work. He’s worked for decades in the public and private sectors, and advocated at the local, state, and federal levels of government. In 2007, he used that experience to found Government Strategies Group, a full-service government relations firm. At GSG, he works directly with clients, helping them navigate the complicated intersection of politics, public policy, and business.

In his many years in public policy, Chip has been involved in significant policies including; creation of tax increment financing districts, the Clean Ohio program, Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation, and most importantly, the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. He has also been at the forefront of some of the biggest developments in Greater Cincinnati, including the Horseshoe (now Hard Rock) Casino, TQL Stadium for FC Cincinnati, parking garage structures at The Banks, and the redevelopment of the @580 building. Rarely is there a public policy endeavor in Cincinnati that does not involve GSG.

Chip received his B.B.A in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law. He lives in Anderson Township with his wife Jane. Son Charlie is a local chef and children Hank and Anne have completed their education and started lives of their own.

Focus areas:

  • State and local government relations
  • Economic development
  • Issue advocacy

Driven by:

  • A lifelong interest in the political system has driven Chip to a career in public policy and politics. As a parent of three, one with Down syndrome, has compelled him to promote public policies designed to help others. Whether it is enabling financial independence for people with disabilities, advancing funding for housing families facing homelessness, or assisting with economic development projects, Chip involves himself in things that make a positive difference. 

In the community:

  • Hamilton County Board of Elections member
  • Current Board Member for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, People Working Cooperatively, Corporation for Findlay Market, goVibrant, and the African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Chairman of the Board for the National Down Syndrome Society
  • Former board member of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati Magazine’s 300 of the Region’s Most Powerful Business Leaders, 2021-2022
  • Cincy Magazine Power 100, 2011-2022