Veteran Gahanna City Councilman Tom Kneeland has returned to fill the unexpired seat of David Samuel, who resigned last month.

Veteran Gahanna City Councilman Tom Kneeland has returned to fill the unexpired seat of David Samuel, who resigned last month.

Kneeland was appointed during the Sept. 16 Gahanna City Council meeting after council considered 13 candidates who had applied for the job.

"I'm honored to be back up here on the dias with you all," Kneeland said. "My main goal is to serve the citizens of Gahanna. That's my passion. This role is a very important role, and it should never be taken for granted."

Kneeland said he served on council 17 years prior to resigning in 2011.

Kneeland stepped down from his at-large council seat to accept the city's position of information-technology director in early 2011. Nine months later, in September 2012, he became Whitehall's first director of IT. He had worked as deputy of information technology for Whitehall from 2008 to 2011.

Kneeland began his political career in 1992 as Ward 1 council representative until 2001.

After five terms as a Ward 1 council member, he took a short absence to finalize retirement from then SBC, the local telephone company, where he was a transport technical-support manager and engineer working with high-capacity fiber-optic networks and digital transmission systems.

Kneeland returned to the political arena in late 2003 to run for office as an at-large council member, and he served two terms in that position.

Council president Stephen Renner said Kneeland has been an icon in the city.

Samuel resigned in August, saying he and his wife were retiring and moving to Florida.

He won his at-large council seat in 2011. His term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

In other council business, Mayor Becky Stinchcomb declared Sept. 16 as Donatos Pizza Day. On behalf of the city, she honored Donatos Pizza on its 50th anniversary.

She presented a proclamation to Donatos founder Jim Grote, his daughter, Jane Grote Abell, and CEO Tom Krouse to recognize 50 years of pizza-making, community-building and goodwill.

Council member Karen Angelou presented a resolution to Dr. Kai Nilsen, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, in recognition of the church's 175 years of ministry to the Gahanna area.

Council clerk Isobel Sherwood announced that David Thom has resigned from the Gahanna Planning Commission, and residents are asked to submit a resume and letter of interest to fill his position.

The commission meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, except in November and December, when it meets on the first and third Wednesdays.

The commission evaluates and acts on plans, maps and applications for changes to the physical characteristics of Gahanna and advises City Council about issues concerning the preparation of plans and maps for future physical development.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 3. Letters and resumes should be sent to Donna Jerrigan, senior deputy clerk of council, city of Gahanna, 200 S. Hamilton Road, Gahanna, 43230, or via email at

Stinchcomb said she was sorry Thom had to resign because of health concerns.

"He served a number of years, not only planning but City Council," she said. "I hope he gets back to health and can return to the city."