Mayor Jim Gray has named Urban County Councilman Chris Ford Lexington's new social services commissioner.
If Ford is confirmed by his council colleagues Tuesday, as expected, Gray will have to appoint a new council member to serve the 1st District, which includes much of the city's East Side.
Ford, who has been on the council since 2011, has a long history in social services. In addition to working in affordable housing, he was a city employee in what is now the grants and special programs department.
A former University of Kentucky football player, Ford, 39, has a master's degree in public administration from Western Kentucky University.
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As a council member, Ford was a vocal advocate for starting the city's first affordable housing fund, and led efforts to improve the city's work force training and to increase accountability of the Bluegrass Area Development District. He also has been active in trying to reduce violence in Lexington, particularly in the his district.
He is chairman of the council's General Government and Social Services Committee.
As social services commissioner, Ford will oversee the city's aging, family and youth services. If confirmed, he will start March 23. His starting salary will be $109,243.
Ford will replace Beth Mills, who retired this year.
Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Gray, said there already has been interest in Ford's council seat. Gray probably won't appoint a replacement until after Ford's confirmation hearing next week, Straub said.
Whoever is appointed will have to run for election in November, Straub said.
"People in the 1st District are used to strong representation on council, and my goal is to make sure that continues," Gray said
In a written release, Ford thanked Gray for a chance to serve Lexington in a different capacity.
"I am honored by Mayor Gray's confidence and for this opportunity to lead the group of dedicated professionals in our Department of Social Services," Ford said. "In partnership with the Urban County Council and our local network of social service providers, we will remain focused on empowering families and neighborhoods."