Pickerington officials will seek to hire a new human resource director prior to the end of 2010.

Pickerington officials will seek to hire a new human resource director prior to the end of 2010.

Faced with current human resource director Linda Fersch's planned retirement on Dec. 31, city officials began looking for her replacement in mid-September. Today (Sept. 30) is the deadline for applicant submissions.

City officials hope to have a new director in place before Fersch leaves so she can provide some training and guidance before handing off the reins to a department that oversees approximately 85 city employees, develops and maintains personnel code and leads contract negotiations with union employees, among other duties.

"We are just trying to coordinate (Linda's) replacement," city manager Bill Vance said. "We have 80-plus employees and a lot of employee services are important to our employees.

"The HR director is absolutely necessary if you have any organization of significance."

According to Fersch, the position was advertised on the city's Web site, as well as Web sites for the Ohio Municipal League, the Ohio State University College of Business, the Human Resource Association of Central Ohio and Monster.com.

She said the city also provided notice of the job opportunity in 24 central Ohio newspapers and informed human resource professionals from cities throughout the region about the impending opening.

The advertised annual salary for the position is $65,000 to $80,000. Fersch's current annual salary as human resource director is $84,000.

"The city manager and myself will be reviewing the resumes and applications the first few weeks of October," Fersch said. "This position reports to the city manager and is under the manager's hiring authority.

"We are hoping to have the person start around the first part of November."

Fersch, a 31-year Pickerington employee, was the city's first and only finance director from January 1981 until Dec. 31, 2009. That job now is held by Chris Schornack.

In addition to her previous role as finance director, Fersch has served as the city's human resource director since August 2005.