Groveport names its new city administrator

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By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

BENJAMIN J. KING

Benjamin J. King is the new Groveport city administrator.

King will begin work in Groveport on Feb. 3 at an annual salary of $104,000, according to Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp.

When asked what attracted him to the job as Groveport city administrator, King said, “Groveport is a great community. The mayor, council, and staff are committed to continued excellence. That is exciting to me. Everyone I have met so far has confirmed this belief. It is an exciting time in Groveport and I am excited to become a part of the continued success. I am excited to get out in the community to begin meeting residents, business owners, and other community partners.”

King has been the city administrator for Pataskala since 2014 and previously was director of public services and assistant city administrator for Pataskala for seven years. He also served as the development coordinator for New Albany from 2006 to 2007. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from Kent State University. He replaces former city administrator Marsha Hall, who retired on Nov. 22 after eight years on the job.

“I believe strongly that local government has the ability to assist residents, and have the most impact, in their day-to-day lives,” said King. “I have always held this belief. For example, if roads aren’t cleared of snow, it can be difficult for people to get to work. Local government is true public service. I find it really enjoyable to help residents in any way possible.”

Westcamp, along with Groveport City Council members Scott Lockett and Jean Ann Hilbert, city personnel director Sue Wadley, and former city administrator Marsha Hall interviewed six candidates for the job out of a field of 35 applicants.

“King rose to the top of the list,” said Westcamp. “He will be a good fit for the city of Groveport.”

Lockett said of King, “He has a lot of experience and his personality fits Groveport.”

Added Hilbert, “There’s no doubt he was at the forefront of the applicants. He has experience with a city budget that is similar to ours, a lot of knowledge, and he can step right into the job.”
According to the Groveport City Charter, the mayor appoints the city

administrator and this appointment must be confirmed by a majority vote of Groveport City Council. Council unanimously confirmed the appointment on Dec. 16.

Westcamp said the delay in King starting work in Groveport allows the new administrator to give Pataskala 30 days notice and also for him to complete some ongoing projects there.

“But he will come in to meet with our department heads and council and will visit the community before he starts,” said Westcamp.

When asked about King’s skills in areas such as developing some of the vacant lots in Groveport’s downtown historic core, Westcamp said King “understands our downtown development issues and he plans to present some of his own ideas.”

“From my initial discussions, the desire is to attract eating establishments to the properties,” said King. “When I begin my service with Groveport, I look forward to discussing with development staff the efforts that have been made to attract businesses to the properties. To have vacant lots in a historic downtown area is rare and is exciting to me.”

Increased traffic from area commercial growth has recently been a discussion topic among the city’s residents. When asked his thoughts on controlling the traffic issues in town, King said, “I believe that development, whether commercial or residential, must not outpace the infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate the increased traffic. It is a balancing act, and one that many Central Ohio communities are dealing with. I am excited to get started looking at the improvements that are needed and how the improvements can be made to create an environment that can accommodate commercial development growth.”

Groveport has many parks and recreation options and city officials are reviewing the town’s Master Parks Plan. King said he sees the city’s parks as an “integral part of providing a quality community of life to residents.”

“Parks and recreation isn’t just the traditional recreation programs,” said King. “Program and opportunities must be provided to all demographics in a community. Parks and recreation is a service that lends itself to being creative with offering programs. The options are limitless.”

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