Pickerington has chosen a Violet Township official to become its next city manager.

During a special meeting Aug. 23, Pickerington City Council voted unanimously to hire Greg Butcher.

He will replace Frank Wiseman, who plans to retire no later than Oct. 1.

Butcher, 55, has been Violet Township's engineer for 18 years. He has also been the interim director of operations for the township since former director of operations John Eisel died July 5.

Butcher said he was "extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity" to be Pickerington's city manager in charge of day-to-day operations of the city, as well as the experiences he's had in Violet Township.

"I take local government extremely seriously," he said. "I believe in public service and my work ethic, professionalism, credibility and integrity will not change moving forward."

Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray said the arrangement will give Violet Township officials time to look for Butcher's replacement.

Violet Township board of trustees Chairman Darrin Monhollen said the township received word of Butcher's plans in the afternoon, Aug. 23.

"First thing Monday (Aug. 26), our full efforts turned entirely to assembling a plan to replace both Mr. Butcher and Mr. Eisel," Monhollen said. "Violet Township currently is developing a process that will ultimately lead to the hiring of both a township administrator and township engineer."

Monhollen said the township will receive assistance from Fairfield County Administrator Carrie Brown and the Ohio Township Association in filling the two posts.

"Mayor Gray and (Pickerington) City Council recognize that Mr. Butcher is the type of person that, even when facing adversity, always does his job," Monhollen said. "He can also be counted upon to help others.

"I am pleased that we will have the opportunity to work with Greg moving forward as he embarks on his new job in the incorporated area of Violet Township."

Under the terms of Butcher's five-year Pickerington contract, he'll receive a base salary of $150,000.

He'll also receive a $550 monthly vehicle allowance and $120 each month for a mobile telephone.

Pickerington Finance Director Chris Schornack said city officials have not been notified if Butcher plans to have medical insurance coverage from the city. The rest of his annual benefits package, however, is valued at $29,871.

Butcher's annual salary is higher than that of former city manager Bill Vance, who left the city after eight years in May 2018 when he and Gray couldn't come to terms on a contract extension.

Vance received an annual salary of $143,263 and annual benefits, including medical coverage, that totaled $65,223.

In his Violet Township posts, Butcher was paid an annual salary of $136,619.64 and received benefits valued together at $76,681.22 per year according to information from the Violet Township Fiscal Office.

Butcher said he wanted to give the township trustees time to address Eisel's death and find a qualified replacement for the director of operations. He added, however, it was the right time for him to take the Pickerington job.

"I've been impressed by Mayor Gray, I've been impressed by this City Council," Butcher said.

"Financially, they're in a very good position and Mr. Wiseman has done a wonderful job bridging the gap to this day, to this opportunity for me."

Wiseman was appointed city manager by Gray in June 2018, after Vance resigned.

He was hired full time as the city manager Aug. 27, 2018, after City Council approved a two-year contract for him that gave him a $120,000 base salary and employee benefits valued at $51,356 total.

At the time, Wiseman was recruited by Gray to come out of retirement. Previously, he served as Pickerington's service director from 1999-2005 and Westerville service director from 2005-14.

Wiseman, who will turn 68 next month, said he has been mulling retirement, and he is confident Butcher is a good hire.

"I've been talking with the mayor for a little while now about what sort of exit strategy we should have," Wiseman said. "Even though I love working for the city of Pickerington, I'm ready to get back into retirement.

"I just think (Butcher) would be a perfect fit for the city. All the history and education he has is one thing, but my interactions with him and my confidence in his ability to work with people probably means more to me. His interactions with people are top-notch."

"(Wiseman) is flexible in working for how long we need to sustain," Gray said. "We wanted to be a good neighbor (to Violet Township).

"We thought it would be good to give them time to transition with (Butcher) leaving."

Gray said Wiseman has done "a wonderful job" as city manager "and he's respected" by city employees and officials throughout central Ohio.

Gray said he has "a great deal of respect" for Butcher, having worked with him on community and regional issues over the past two decades.

Gray also noted Butcher has a degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University and a master's degree in public administration from Ohio University.

"He knows the city," Gray said. "It's a good pickup for us. I have a great deal of respect for him."

Pickerington City Council President Mike Sabatino said the hiring of Butcher is a good move for the city.

"He's done a good job with the township and he's filled in for John (Eisel) when John had situations that he was out of office," Sabatino said. "Another good thing is he's a registered engineer.

"Having backup on engineering would be an asset, a benefit that Greg brings to the table."