Pataskala City Council Monday, July 7, voted unanimously to approve the appointment of former Pataskala service director Benjamin King as the city’s new administrator, as proposed by Mayor Mike Compton.
“Welcome home,” Councilwoman Pat Sagar said to King.
King was one of two finalists for the position after submitting his name late in the process.
He worked for the city for 6 1/2 years and filled in for the administrator several times.
King left Pataskala Feb. 28 and started working as director of operations March 3 for Violet Township in Fairfield County.
Pataskala’s ad hoc search committee began its search after City Council during a March 4 special meeting agreed unanimously to move forward with the search for a full-time city administrator and discard the idea of having a charter review commission to study the position.
The city advertised the position and received applications from 17 candidates. The committee interviewed five of the 17 in June before King applied for the position.
After he was interviewed, the committee forwarded its recommendation to the mayor, with King as the first choice and Robert Schaumleffel of Westerville as the second choice.
The committee included Compton and City Council members Tim Hickin, Dan Hayes and Melissa Gibson.
Councilman Bryan Lenzo asked King on July 7 why he didn’t initially apply for the job.
King said he was conflicted, but believes the city has a great staff and great things happening and he wants to be part of both.
“It feels like the right thing to do,” he said.
The committee’s recommendation was for a two-year contract, a $91,000 annual salary and a $1,000 monthly stipend if King chooses to move to Pataskala.
Lenzo asked if King would move to the city but King said he’s been unable to convince his wife to move to Pataskala from Bexley.
Lenzo said although he supports having an administrator live in the city who has to live with the decisions made by the city, he’s familiar with King’s work.
“With Mr. King, there’s zero risk,” he said.
Compton said King gave “10,000 percent” effort when working as service director and said of King’s appointment, “I think this had to happen.”
King said he needs to be updated about work that’s been done in the past six months and hopes to be seen in the community, visiting local businesses, supervising projects on site and talking to residents about the city.
He said he also is anxious to establish a new team.
Pataskala has had an interim public-services director since King left in March and an interim planning director since Eric Fischer resigned March 4.
Pataskala’s utilities director, Nathan Coey, has been acting city administrator since January. The previous administrator, Timothy Boland, left in December after City Council declined to renew his contract.
“The seat’s warm and ready and waiting for you, buddy,” Coey said July 7.
King said he resigned from his Violet Township job after being chosen as a finalist for the Pataskala position. He is expected to start working in Pataskala on July 21.