Fairfield hires new assistant city manager

Fairfield has scored another Butler County official to help lead the day-to-day operations.

Butler County Human Resources Director Laura Murphy will be Fairfield’s new assistant city manager. She will get a $23,400 a year pay increase as her starting salary with Fairfield will be $120,000.

Murphy worked with City Manager Scott Timmer during his brief tenure with the county as assistant county administrator in 2021.

“While at the county, I had the opportunity to work with a tremendous team of department heads. In that time, Laura and I worked closely on a variety of tasks, while developing a strong, mutual respect for each other,” said Timmer. “Additionally, we developed a rapport that allowed us to achieve common goals.”

Timmer was previously Fairfield’s assistant city manager from January to July 2021, when he was hired by the county. Fairfield City Council hired Timmer back at the beginning of this year. The city manager said when he arrived back to the city, he met with his senior staff to determine the qualities of an assistant city manager.

“Ms. Murphy brings a wealth of experience in labor management, among other valuable skills, to our high-performing team, and we are excited to get her onboarded so that we can continue to impactfully serve the city,” Timmer said.

Butler County Commissioner Don Dixon said “when employees are here for a while they become just like family so it’s kind of hard personally to see them move, but it’s a huge opportunity for her.”

The commissioner said he wasn’t aware of her aspirations to be in city management.

“That’s a big jump in job classification and a great move for her,” Dixon said. “The opportunity presented itself and she’s well trained and equipped to handle the job.”

Murphy has been the county’s human resources director since September 2017. She has a breadth of legal experience, holding a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Dayton School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Justice. She is a member of the County Risk Sharing Authority’s (CORSA) Best Practices Personnel Policy steering committee.

Butler County Administrator Judi Boyko said while it’s sad when there’s an organizational change and someone leaves, “this one really hurts.”

“Laurie has been a constant influence since I’ve been here in embracing the direction of the goal of continuous improvement and enhancing our deliverables in what we produce and the services we provide,” she said. “Her leadership and positivity will be missed.”

She also volunteers her time as a choreographer to various community theater groups in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Fairfield had inconsistency in its top executive positions and has now been shored up. The city lost its city manager in December 2020 when Mark Wendling resigned. A month later the city’s assistant city manager, Dan Wendt, was hired away to be Vandalia’s city manager.

Fire Chief Don Bennett served as acting city manager from December 2020 until Timmer’s hiring some 15 months later. Though Timmer replaced Wendt as assistant city manager in January 2021 until he left for the county, that position had been vacant for nearly a year.

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