It is famously said in the sports world that there is no "I" in team.

It is famously said in the sports world that there is no "I" in team.

As far as Philip D. Honsey is concerned, there is no place for the first-person singular pronoun in the proper workings of local government, either.

Honsey will bring his "we" not "me" approach to a new job come March 2 when he takes over as city administrator.

Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage announced the 54-year-old Minnesota native's appointment on Feb. 2. Honsey, who told City Council members last week that he and his wife, Cindy, had put an offer on a house in Grove City, takes over for Sharon L. Reichard.

Appointed city administrator by then-Mayor Cheryl L. Grossman in January 2007, Reichard will remain on the city's staff to continue work on some of the projects she had been heading up, notably cobbling together funding for reworking the $30 million state Route 665-Interstate 71 interchange.

In introducing himself to council members on Feb. 2, Honsey quickly said that he is not a politician and that he much prefers talking about projects than about himself.

However, he did agree to sit down last week for a wide-ranging interview about the journey from his hometown of Mankato to his new home of Grove City.

After high school, Honsey attended what was then called Mankato State University, now Minnesota State University, Mankato. He initially majored in journalism but his instructors, mindful of how often that profession intersects with the workings of government, encouraged Honsey to take some government studies courses.

Soon, journalism's loss was government's gain.

"It bit me: 'OK, this is what I want to do,' " Honsey recalled.

He switched his major to urban and regional studies, at one of the first universities to offer that discipline on an undergraduate level. Honsey received his bachelor of arts in 1978 from a program he described as very practical in its orientation, one that gave him a taste for what life would be like after college.

Although he was working in his chosen field in the Twin Cities area at the time of his graduation, on a downtown revitalization project in the suburb of Columbia Heights that Honsey described as a modest version of Columbus City Center, he moved to central Ohio that same year.

That experience more than three decades ago in seeking to nurture the historic core in a suburban central business district rather than make wholesale replacements, Honsey feels, fits nicely with what is currently going on in Grove City and with the philosophy of Mayor Stage.

Honsey took a job with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission in 1978, working in what was at the time called "developmental controls." This primarily involved zoning issues relating to major development going on in the suburbs and the sudden appearance of major subdivisions. During this period, Honsey said that he came to get to know Bill Lotz, longtime Grove City building inspector.

When Honsey moved on to be administrator of Groveport in about 1987, a post he held for eight years, Lotz assisted him in getting the village's building department set up. Lotz did the same thing for Honsey when he became Galion's city administrator, a position held for 11 years. In 2006, Honsey left the public sector to become planning department manager for Poggemeyer Design Group in Bowling Green. A scandal involving Galion's finance director marred Honsey's tenure there, but it also taught him, he said, some valuable lessons.

"I learned that you cannot relax," Honsey said. "You can like the people giving you finance reports ... but as they said in dealing with the Russians, 'Trust but verify.'

"We did a lot of good things in that community," Honsey added, among them four separate Main Street Grants to revitalize the aging downtown.

Honsey said he welcomes a return to the public sector and the type of work he will be called on to do as Grove City's administrator, a job that pays $105,000 a year.

"There's a joy in building a consensus and getting people to work together," he said. "It is a very unique opportunity when someone like Mayor Stage comes to you and says he wants you to be part of what we're doing here in Grove City. Anyone with my background and my set of interests would be interested in Grove City."

What Honsey said he sees in Grove City is a long-term commitment to growth and a "sophisticated understanding" how growth and development relate to the overall health of the community.

"Thriving industrial areas are necessary to have the tax base to support the whole community," Honsey said.

At the same time, caring for the city's historic core is also of major importance to the residents, he added.

Honsey and his wife, who works at Nationwide Children's Hospital two days a week, have been married since 1981. They have two daughters and a son. The oldest, 26-year-old Allison, works for State Auto Insurance. Middle child Laura, 24, is a nurse at Children's Hospital. Son Andrew, 19, is in college.

In his spare time, Honsey said he enjoys fishing and bird watching.