Canal Winchester's new community-affairs coordinator will be a multi-tasker, spending his time on both communications and information technology support.

Canal Winchester's new community-affairs coordinator will be a multi-tasker, spending his time on both communications and information technology support.

Rick Brown was hired as a full-time employee after spending the previous six years as an IT consultant with Maximation, which was under contract with Canal Winchester.

The city has been without a community affairs staff since former director Carrie Hoover left in September 2011.

"It's not a replacement of Carrie. This is a different position that's not director-level," Brown said. "What I've done for the past six years under Maximation they've now rolled that up into the city and I'll continue doing that."

Mayor Michael Ebert said changes at Maximation threatened to remove Brown from the contract with Canal Winchester. The city chose to retain Brown by hiring him for the unclassified position.

Brown will make $65,000 plus benefits.

"We've come to depend on Rick's IT skills," Ebert said. "We all wear many hats around here, and Rick will, too."

One of Brown's first projects with the city was to design its current website, and he will now be tasked with redesigning it.

"We're in the process of redesigning the website, and we'll launch that later in 2012," Brown said. "Some of the feedback we've gotten from residents is that they want information available as things are happening.

"We want to become a leader in information sharing and provide residents with an opportunity to access useful city resources online," he said. "There's a lot that we do that people don't utilize because they just aren't aware of it."

Brown said the communications component of his position is likely to be primarily tied to updating and managing website information and creating an online repository of searchable city data.

"I'll be responsible for gathering the information and presenting it on the website. Our goal is to be able to use it as a resource for residents and for the press, be able to search information," Brown said.

However, IT support will be Brown's primary function, Ebert said.

"My primary function will be to maintain the technology within the city, responsible for design and management of the IT infrastructure, everything from website to server to desktop," Brown said. "I'll help develop IT disaster-recovery plans as well, since the city has such a complex environment and currently, there are only rudimentary plans in place."

Canal Winchester shares several services with Madison Township; fire services are the most visible to residents. According to Brown, the two entities also share technology, something he will work to streamline.

"One of the unique items is that I'm responsible for the technology portion of the shared service with Madison Township," he said. "When I was hired away from Maximation, I was in the middle of a big infrastructure project for Madison Township. Since then, we've all met and decided that this would be a good opportunity to expand those shared services to the IT infrastructure realm."

Brown said he is very excited about the new role after leaving a 12-year career at Maximation.

"I've worked with these people for six years and now I get to join the team as a full team member. It's a great team to be on," Brown said. "It's really a unique group and I'm excited about it.

"I get to work with some intelligent people who really care about this city. They aren't just coming to put their eight hours a day in. Not everywhere is like that, so it's a special opportunity for me."