A Union County employee is among three finalists still in the running to be Pickerington's first full-time city engineer.

A Union County employee is among three finalists still in the running to be Pickerington's first full-time city engineer.

The finalists, chosen by a screening committee of city administrators, include Joanna Pinkerton, a project engineer for new infrastructure and development in the Union County Engineer's Office; former Summit County Engineer Gregory Bachman; and Mark Hunter, a senior traffic engineer and project manager for CH2M Hill's Dayton office.

The three are expected to be interviewed by Pickerington City Council during an executive session slated for April 28. From there, council could offer the position to one of them, or follow-up interviews could be scheduled.

"We will make our decision after the 28th interviews, though we may want to call one or more of the candidates back," said Jeff Fix, Pickerington City Council president pro tempore. "(It) depends on how things go with the initial council interviews."

A steering committee including Pickerington City Manager Tim Hansley, Mayor Tim O'Brien and Service Manager Ed Drobina recommended the three finalists after 27 people applied for the post in late February. Of those, two unnamed candidates withdrew after learning their names would be made public during the selection process.

Pickerington wants to establish an in-house city engineer's position for the first time in its 194-year history. Officials hope the in-house post will reduce Pickerington's annual costs for engineering services -- which always have been contracted to outside firms -- by $57,500 to $95,000. Currently, the city has a month-to-month contract for engineering services with W. E. Stilson Consulting Group. In 2008, the city paid the firm a retainer fee of $9,600 a month, or $115,200 for the year.

The city has set the pending city engineer's pay scale at $80,000 to $92,000.

It's unclear exactly when the engineer would begin working for the city. However, Fix and Hansley said they're hopeful the person chosen can be in place by June 1 or July 1.

"I don't have a date at this point," Fix said. "Once we go through the interviews, we will work to reach a consensus on how to go forward.

"After that happens, we need to negotiate and finalize a contract with the final candidate. Once that agreement is finalized, we will make a formal announcement."

All three finalists have experience working in Ohio, according to their resumes.

Bachman has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in civil engineering from The Ohio State University. He was Summit County engineer from 2003 to 2008, and also has served as city engineer and deputy service director for the city of Akron.

Hunter has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Ohio State. He is senior operation leader at CH2M Hill, where he's worked since 1999. He's served as the company's project manager to highway improvement projects and lead engineer for traffic control planning.

Pinkerton has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Ohio Northern University. She's worked in the Union County Engineer's Office since 2004, where she's engaged in transportation planning, engineering, development of public infrastructure, contract reviews, code enforcement and project management.

She also is a member of the Ohio Department of Transportation's 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force.

nellis@thisweeknews.com