Nearly five years after resigning as Pickerington's economic development director, Susan Crotty returned to the post this week.

Nearly five years after resigning as Pickerington's economic development director, Susan Crotty returned to the post this week.

Crotty rejoined the city on Monday, Feb. 22, after accepting an offer from Pickerington police chief and interim city manager Mike Taylor to lead the city's business retention and economic development efforts.

She returns to the position she held from July 1999 to May 2005. She will be paid $68,000 annually after Pickerington City Council on Tuesday Feb. 16 voted unanimously to increase the pay scale for the position from $60,000 per year.

At the time of her departure from the city, Crotty was paid $59,184. Tim Hansley, the city's last economic development director, was paid an annual salary $69,685.

"I'm excited about going back to Pickerington," she said. "I think there's a lot of opportunities there and I think it will be a lot of fun."

During her previous tenure in Pickerington, Crotty was involved in the 2002 formation of the Route 33 Growth Alliance, a partnership of more than a dozen political subdivisions, chambers of commerce and businesses to promote economic development along the U.S. 33 corridor.

She said she plans to get reacquainted with alliance members, as well as community representatives for a Joint Economic Development District, which seeks to establish a mile-wide business district along U.S. Route 33.

Additionally, she said she hopes to re-evaluate a business retention strategy she implemented in Pickerington and will seek to diversify the local business sector.

"Possibly we'll look for some smaller office users and some retail users," she said. "We want to bring in some different goods and services."

Crotty also is a candidate to become Pickerington's full-time city manager.

"I am definitely still interested in that position, but in the meantime, I think there's a chance for me to do some positive things in the economic development director position," she said.

Taylor offered the job to Crotty on Feb. 1. The position wasn't advertised and there were no other candidates.

In addition to her salary, she will receive the same medical, prescription medicine, dental, vision and life insurance benefits as other city employees, said Linda Fersch, Pickerington's personnel director.

"Vacation and sick leave (will be) the same as any new employee," Fersch said. "First-year employees receive 119.6 hours sick leave and 96 hours of vacation.

"(They receive) four personal days after six months probationary period is over. She will have access to a city vehicle if needed to go to meetings, conferences, etc. If no vehicle is available, she will be reimbursed mileage at the IRS rate, just like other city employees."

Crotty resigned as Pickerington economic development director in May 2005 to become development coordinator for Columbus Urban Growth Corp., a tax-supported, nonprofit agency that led inner-city Columbus redevelopment projects from 1996 to 2008.

She left Columbus Urban Growth in July 2008 to become deputy director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office of Workforce Development, until she resigned in October 2009. She said she left the agency due to leadership changes there. Ohio DJFS officials declined to discuss her exit from the agency, citing department policy for former employees.

Crotty also is a former Obetz economic development director.

nellis@thisweeknews.com