Pickerington's first in-house city engineer will take his new post next month after being officially hired last week.

Pickerington's first in-house city engineer will take his new post next month after being officially hired last week.

Greg Bachman, a former Summit County engineer who also headed engineering operations for the cities of Kent and Hilliard, will start working for Pickerington on June 29.

Bachman was chosen by city officials May 5 and officially hired when Pickerington City Council voted unanimously May 19 to hire him a starting annual wage of $86,000.

Per city policy, his yearly salary will increase to $86,440 in 2010, as long has he clears a probationary employment period without incident.

"I am excited to be the first in-house city engineer in Pickerington," Bachman said when reached by telephone on May 21. "I'm looking forward to getting started."

City officials sought to establish an in-house city engineer's position for the first time in its 194-year history in hopes of reducing the amount of money Pickerington pays in annual costs for engineering services by $57,500 to $95,000.

Until now, the city has always hired outside firms when it needed such services.

Currently, Pickerington 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 had set the pending city engineer's pay scale at $80,000 to $92,000.

"The decision to hire a full-time city engineer rather than continue to use an outside consulting agency is an economic one," Jeff Fix, city council president pro tempore, said earlier this month. "We feel strongly that the city will save significant sums of money by hiring someone for our staff and we will have the added benefit of having that engineer available all the time. They will have no other clients or customers to deal with other than city staff and our constituents."

Bachman comes to Pickerington after serving as Summit County engineer from 2003 to January 2009.

Prior to that, he spent close to a year as city engineer and deputy service director of the city of Kent, and he was city engineer and director of public service for the city of Hilliard from 1997 to 1999.

He said he sought the Pickerington post in order to get back to central Ohio, as well as work in local government.

"Pickerington is a growing, vibrant suburb," he said. "I spent most of my professional career in the Columbus area, and my wife (Maureen) is from Gahanna.

"I like to involve myself in the details of projects," he said. "In a smaller city, the city engineer gets involved in the details of projects, as opposed to a larger city where the city engineer is more of an administrator. I still enjoy getting involved in the nuts and bolts of projects."

Bachman currently lives in Akron, but owns a condominium in the Columbus area. He said he plans to relocate to Pickerington soon.

He earned 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.

In addition to his public work, he provided project management and site development services for roadway and utilities projects for Moody/Nolan Limited from 1995 to 1997, and again for the company from 1999 to 2002.

Bachman also operated his own civil engineering firm from 1992 to 1994, and was a project engineer and resident engineer for Burgess & Niple prior to that time.

As for priorities, Bachman said analyzing and improving the local infrastructure, particularly city traffic patterns, will be among them.

"Certainly, traffic is a big issue in the community," he said. "I'll be looking in-depth at traffic, but also at water, sewer, storm drainage and traffic safety.

"(My goals) basically are to improve the infrastructure of the city. I want to build on what Pickerington has and make improvements."

nellis@thisweeknews.com