Violet Township officials plan to have an interim director of operations in place by the end of this week.

Since the July 5 death of John Eisel, township officials have had to shuffle staff to make sure day-to-day business was being covered.

Then on Aug. 23, the city of Pickerington hired township engineer Greg Butcher as city manager, forcing Violet officials to reshuffle yet again.

That's because in addition to the impending loss of the township's engineer, Butcher also was serving as the township's interim director of operations. He will take over as Pickerington city manager by Oct. 1.

Darrin Monhollen, Violet Township Board of Trustees chairman, acknowledged there have been a number of moving pieces.

But he said a new interim-director of operations is expected to be named by Friday, Sept. 6.

Monhollen said after that task is done, township officials can set sights on filling both the director of operations position, which will maintain the same duties but be renamed "township administrator," as well as the engineer's position.

"We've got the strategy developed on how we will recruit the positions going forward," Monhollen said.

"Certainly, with the township administrator's position, we will conduct a statewide search because that's what our citizenry deserves."

Eisel, a former Violet Township firefighter and chief, served as director of operations since July 2014.

He died of a heart attack while with his wife, Lori, and other family members at their vacation home in Cumberland, Kentucky.

At the time of Eisel's death, he received an annual salary of $144,195.48 and received annual employee benefits valued at $27,379.56. As engineer, Butcher has an annual salary of $136,619.64, and he receives annual benefits valued at $76,681.22, according to the township fiscal office.

Upon accepting the city manager's position in Pickerington, Butcher agreed to potentially delay the start of his new job until Oct. 1. He said that would allow the township time to find a replacement to fill the director of operations post.

"There was a very deliberate attempt to ensure that that was happening out of respect to Violet Township and the vacuum that was created by the passing of John Eisel and my eventual leaving," Butcher said.

"It was very important to everybody involved with the city of Pickerington and myself that that occurred."

Monhollen said the director of operations position will be changed to township administrator to be more in line with the title for such positions in other townships.

He said the director of operations title came to be years ago because the township used to require the fire chief to report directly to the director of operations, but now the fire chief reports to the trustees.

As for the search for a township administrator and engineer, Monhollen said Fairfield County Administrator Carrie Brown is helping to spread the word and recruit candidates, as is the Ohio Township Association.

He said the township already has received informal inquiries from interested individuals.

"We've had a number of interested professionals for both positions," Monhollen said. "It's very encouraging.

"I guess I'm not surprised that we're a draw because we're progressing well and it's a great place to be."

Monhollen said the township will begin accepting official applications for the administrator's post within the next month.

"The search will open up within a few weeks," he said. "We do not have a definitive deadline for candidates."

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