Former Gahanna service director Dottie Franey will continue to serve city residents as the new city administrator.

The city on May 17 announced Mayor Tom Kneeland had chosen Franey for the job after a nationwide recruitment and selection process.

She began her new duties May 21.

As service director, Franey's annual salary was $106,246. Her new annual salary is $116,875 while her benefits are valued at $36,450, for a total annual package of $153,325.

Franey is now responsible for overseeing the city's daily operations and spearheading citywide strategic initiatives, including GoForward Gahanna and Lean Gahanna, according to information from the city.

Franey began her career with the city in 1992. She was promoted to deputy director of public service in 2002 and named director of public services in 2011.

"For more than 26 years, Dottie has earned the respect of her peers and been instrumental in helping to implement processes that enhance customer service, improve processes and increase efficiency," Kneeland said. "I look forward to working with Dottie in her new capacity."

Franey takes over the post left vacant by the resignation of Jennifer Teal on Dec. 31, 2017.

"It's been a joy serving Gahanna taxpayers for the past 26 years in the public-service department, and I am honored to be given this new opportunity as city administrator," Franey said. "I will continue to serve our taxpayers from a new and exciting perspective. I appreciate the confidence that has been placed in me by the mayor, and will work diligently to fulfill my duties."

The city administrator serves at the will of the mayor as the operational head of the city that has a population of nearly 36,000, with a $72.2 million annual budget. Gahanna employs 150 full-time and 60 part-time staffers, according to the city.

Franey holds a bachelor's degree in management from Franklin University. She has completed various training programs, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Incident Management Training, Ohio Sunshine Training and the Ohio Fire Academy's Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulations Operating Training.

She has been a member of several boards, commissions and organizations, including the American Public Works Association and the American Water Works Association.

Franey also has presented at international conferences on Gahanna's sustainable fleet replacement program and advanced metering infrastructure. She also has published articles in the AWA Reporter.

She also serves as the Gahanna liaison with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Sustainable 2050 initiative.

Rob Priestas, Gahanna's director of engineering, will assume the role of director of public service and engineering.

Priestas was hired by Gahanna in September 2014 to shadow city engineer Karl Wetherholt, who retired a month later.

Before joining Gahanna, Priestas was Marysville's assistant city engineer for about four years.

His annual salary as engineer was $93,995, and his new salary is $103,396 plus $44,816 in benefits, for a total package of $148,212.

The city might hire a civil engineer later this year, said Niel M. Jurist, Gahanna public information manager.

The director of engineering role will be retained by Priestas for long-term continuity, she said.