Hilliard has named Erin Duffee as the city’s new deputy director of the city’s recreation and parks department.

Duffee’s first day on the job will be June 29. She replaces James Gant, who resigned in February.

City Manager Michelle Crandall said she is “extremely excited” for Duffee to join the city staff.

Duffee, a Hilliard resident, serves as recreation administrator for the city of Dublin.

Crandall was assistant city manager for the city of Dublin until becoming Hilliard’s first city manager Jan. 2. She said Duffee’s position “is crucial to helping the department chart a course for the future.”

Ed Merritt, Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department director, said the city was “fortunate to have many highly qualified candidates for the position.”

“(Duffee) stood out to us because she brings such a breadth of skills and knowledge of the industry,” Merritt said.

Those skills “will be a valuable addition” as Hilliard begins to develop a strategic recreation-and-parks plan later this year, Merritt said.

Duffee, 41, has 16 years of recreation-and-parks experience, having served as recreation coordinator for the Grove City from 2004 to 2012 and then working for the city of Dublin, most recently as recreation administrator.

“I look forward to working for Hilliard,” said Duffee, who has resided in Hilliard since 2015 with her husband and their 6-year-old daughter.

Duffee, a certified parks and recreation professional and member of the National and Ohio Recreation and Parks Associations, said her goals include enhancing the quality of life for Hilliard residents, advancing environmental conservation efforts and “bettering my community by building connections amongst the residents, businesses and city employees.”

Duffee’s annual salary is $97,000, and her benefits are worth $41,278 for a total compensation package valued at $138,278, according to Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard.

Duffee was selected from a pool of about 70 applicants, Subler said.

Gant had served as Hilliard’s deputy director since Aug. 5, 2019, after serving as Prairie Township’s recreation director since 2014.

Gant’s annual salary at his hire was $94,500, and the annual value of his benefits was $41,047, according to David Ball, Hilliard’s communications director.

Prior to Gant’s appointment by then-Mayor Don Schonhardt, the position had been vacant for almost two years. When hired in August 2019, Gant was the first deputy director since Heather Ernst resigned from that position in November 2017.

In October 2018, Ernst pleaded guilty to theft in office and attempted tampering with records. She was sentenced to one year in prison and was released in December 2019.

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