Rocky Fork Enterprise

Gahanna spokesman Hoyt leaving for COTA

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Gahanna public-information manager Brian Hoyt will leave a position he helped define to become public/media-relations manager at Central Ohio Transit Authority.

His last day with the city of Gahanna will be Friday, Jan. 11. Hoyt's duties will be covered temporarily by assistant city administrator Brandi Braun, with assistance from public-information intern Meggan Fallon.

Hoyt joined Gahanna in June 2009, when he was hired to establish a public-information program.

"It was a newly created position," Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said. "He exceeded my expectation, in terms of what he accomplished. With media splintering as it has, communication with constituents is getting harder and harder."

Stinchcomb said Hoyt introduced the city to social media, establishing it on Twitter and Facebook, and he helped redesign the city's website.

"His relationship with all the media has been wonderful," Stinchcomb said. "One of the most pleasant surprises was how well he integrated with the police department. I think he earned their respect, too."

Stinchcomb said people initially weren't sure how the public-information position would fit into the city's framework, and now people can't imagine being without it.

"He leaves big shoes to fill," she said. "He's quick-witted and fun to work with. He will be very much missed."

Hoyt said one of the best parts of his job has been in working directly with residents and business neighbors on issues and ideas, helping engage citywide conversations.

"When I think back to the day we started using Facebook and Twitter, I am blown away by our growth," he said. " I was hoping that a few hundred people would want to connect with the city. Today we have more than eight special media outlets that have nearly 10,000 connections."

In 2011, Hoyt said, the city redesigned Gahanna.gov, seeing a 300-percent increase in Web traffic.

"This tells me that residents of Gahanna are engaged and want even more information about their local government," he said.

Hoyt said he's proud of the relationships he has developed with some of the hardest-working professionals he has ever met.

"I think that Gahanna residents should be proud of their employees who serve them every day," he said. "I have seen how city staff, at all levels, take pride in working to meet the needs and expectations of the taxpayers. This is even more impressive when you consider the demands on local governments have increased while resources, such as funding, have steadily decreased."

Hoyt said he's also proud of the relationships and friendships he has made with residents and such organizations as the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce, the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Olde Gahanna Community Partnership and the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

"Organizations like these are examples of how a community can really support one another for a common cause," he said.

Hoyt said his job change is bittersweet.

"I truly enjoyed working for the city of Gahanna, and I love this community," he said. "This was a tough decision for me. But in the end, my hope is that I leave Gahanna's City Hall a little better than I found it and that the residents know that I am forever grateful for their trust and the privilege to serve them."

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