Ferdon appoints Frey as executive director of administration


Columbus Mayor-elect Mary Ferdon has named her first appointment to city hall since winning the Nov. 7 election.

Ferdon announced Monday that Eric Frey, currently the executive director of the Administrative Resources association (ARa), will be the city’s new executive director of administration, effective Jan. 1.

“Eric is no stranger to city hall and he’s had a great head-start on this new role,” Ferdon said. “He has played a supporting role in city government for 30 years and is well-respected both in Columbus and across the region for his ability to administer important projects vital to our community.”

At present, Ferdon serves as the city’s director of administration and community development. However, city officials have said that the 2024 budget and salary ordinance split the position into two different roles, with the city also creating a new administration office. Per the approved salary ordinance, the salary range for the executive director of administration is about $82,000 to $123,000.

Serving in this role, Frey will oversee multiple city departments and key strategic initiatives such as the city’s involvement in Mental Health Matters, the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress and housing initiatives.

Frey graduated from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and worked in county and state government before moving to Columbus in 1994. He has been a member of ARa’s staff ever since and became executive director of the Columbus-based nonprofit municipal-owned association in 2001.

During his time at ARa, Frey served 16 communities with over 135,000 residents in southeast Indiana, worked with dozens of mayors and assisted in securing funding and managing more than $200 million in municipal projects.

He has also served as a volunteer on multiple boards and commissions and is the current chair of the Columbus Housing Authority board of directors.

Frey has confirmed that his appointment means that he will be leaving the ARa and said that the association’s board has established a search committee to find a new executive director.

“I have loved supporting Columbus and southern Indiana over the past three decades through my work at ARa and I’m honored to continue this work in a different capacity alongside Mayor Ferdon as she seeks to build upon the accomplishments of Mayor Lienhoop’s eight-year administration,” Frey said. “Columbus is in very good hands.”