NEW BRUNSWICK – A long-time city hall employee with more than 20 years in the municipal government now is in charge of the Department of Social Services.

Mayor James Cahill picked Melanie Ford to be the next director of the department, succeeding former director David Blevins who retired late last year.

Ford began working for the city in 1997. In 2003, Ford was promoted to director of the city’s Senior Resource Center.

Sign Up for E-News

She held that position until being tapped for her new job earlier this year, city officials said.

“Melanie has done an outstanding job as the Director of our City’s Senior Resource Center and her promotion to this position is certainly well-deserved,” said Mayor Jim Cahill.

Ford is the only woman currently heading a city department, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Bradshaw.

“At present, Ms. Ford is our sole female Director. We do have female division supervisors within our departments,” Bradshaw said.

Ford has an annual salary of $105,000 as the new department head.

“I am truly honored and humbled to serve,” Ford said her new position.

Blevins retired in December after a 32-year career with the city.