While Sarah Phillips is proud to have helped Johnstown make significant progress as a village, it's the people she will remember most.

While Sarah Phillips is proud to have helped Johnstown make significant progress as a village, it's the people she will remember most.

"When I think back to Johnstown, most of my thoughts will be of the people that I have had the fortune to work with and the community as a whole," she said. "The employees of the village have truly been a pleasure to work with and I will miss them greatly."

They're going to miss her, too.

Law Director Mary Ellen Fulk said the defining thing about Phillips is that she "fit."

"I have learned a lot from her about government workings," Fulk said. "I admire her. I think she's so smart. I really hate to see her go. I think Johnstown was really blessed to have her."

Fulk said Phillips "stuck to her guns on what she thought was the right thing to do."

She called her "dynamic" for her ability to bring grant funds to the village.

"I think she will be hard to replace," Fulk added. "She made my job easier to do because she has a good head on her shoulders."

Street director Randy Ashbrook said Phillips will not only be missed within the community of Johnstown, but in the county as a whole.

"Anywhere you go and you say her name, everyone has good things to say about her," Ashbrook said.

During a council meeting earlier this month, Joseph Ethier, who served on various committees, told Phillips, "It has been a privilege to have worked with you and to know you."

Phillips said a great team of department heads made her job easier and will keep Johnstown moving forward in the years to come.

"Mayor Kevin Riffe and the village council have been a pleasure to work with," she said, "and I have appreciated their support and confidence through the years."

Riffe said Phillips will be greatly missed in the village, the area, and mostly as a very good friend.

"I couldn't be happier for her on a professional level," he said. "This is a move she deserves and the next step in her career.

"She has meant so much to the village her short five years here that I couldn't picture what kind of shape we might be in if not for her."

In the next five years, he predicts Johnstown will have the look of a Westerville or Gahanna or any of the other areas that had the knowledge to begin what Phillips started.

Riffe said he will miss Phillips more as a friend than a village manager.

" She was one of the easiest people to talk to about anything," he said. "If it was something about village business she would explain the issue in a way that, no matter what it was, you felt good when you left her office.

"ÉThere's someone out there who can do the job of manager, but only she can fill that friendship role," he added.

Phillips said she will always remember the late mayor Bob Burrell and mayor Karl Van Deest for their leadership and the contributions they made to the community.

She also enjoyed working with other governmental agencies including Monroe Township, Licking County Planning Commission, Johnstown-Monroe School Board, Ohio Department of Development and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

"All of these agencies have contributed to the successes in Johnstown," she said.

Phillips admits to getting "teary-eyed," thinking about her time in the village.

"The people of this community welcomed me into it as if I had lived here for a long time," she said. "And that is why it has been a pleasure to call Johnstown home."