Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has announced that Ariel Walker will replace Kery Gray as director of the City Commission Office.
Gray, who is retiring, attended his last commission meeting Wednesday. He has worked for the city for about three decades.
Walker started with the city in 2008 in the Office of Management and Budget and served as the assistant to the city manager. She became Whaley’s senior policy aide in 2014.
“Ariel has been essential to the success of programs like the City of Learners, the passage of Issue 9, and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities federal designation,” said Whaley in a statement.
Gray worked in the management and budget office and purchasing before running the commission office.
Gray was extremely knowledgeable and a valuable resource for city commissioners who was not afraid to speak up when he felt the leadership got something wrong, the commissioners said.
Gray always made himself available to answer questions — at all hours of the day and night — and was a hard worker and important voice in the community, they said.
“I have really appreciated your depth of knowledge of this organization and its history and how that effects how we move forward,” said Dayton Commissioner Chris Shaw.
Gray and his husband, Tim Walsh, were the first gay couple to get married in Dayton after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize same-sex weddings in 2015. Gray and Walsh may have been the first gay couple to legally wed in Ohio.
At Wednesday’s commission meeting, Gray thanked the city commission, past elected leaders and residents for giving him “the most extraordinary opportunities to be of service to my fellow citizens.”
But he also reeled off a list of city employees who are also retiring and said they deserved recognition for their contributions in public service.
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