Brian Murphy speaks with state Rep. Alice Wolf. Murphy is returning to Cambridge as a community development official, officials say. (Photo: brianmurphy.org)

Former city councillor Brian Murphy is returning to the city as head of community development, city councillors said Monday.

He may be back on the city payroll by the end of the month, Mayor David Maher said.

Murphy, who resigned from the council two years ago to be deputy secretary of governmental affairs for the Executive Office of Transportation, was replaced by Larry Ward on the council in a special election the same month, and Ward was defeated in a regular election in November 2009 by Leland Cheung.

Murphy, meanwhile, was earning a $110,000 salary, roughly a 67 percent increase from a councillor’s salary.

He’s in line for another raise. Last year, Beth Rubenstein got a salary of $157,188 as 13-year assistant city manager for community development; with the city’s organizational chart unchanged, Murphy would slide into the role, although not necessarily the exact salary. Susan Glazer has been serving as acting assistant city manager for community development since Rubenstein left in June for a role in planning and development at the University of Massachusetts.

The department has 44 full-time employees, according to the city budget, as well as independent contractors performing such roles as snow removal and is organized into Community Planning; Economic Development; Environmental and Transportation Planning; and Housing. It also administers federal Community Development Block Grants, which helps people with low and moderate incomes, mainly in the areas of housing and human services.

Murphy is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago School of Law; he is a resident of mount Auburn Street with a wife, Kate Champion Murphy, and has two children. He served as a councillor for seven years. During his 2005 race for reelection, one resident said she gave Murphy her No. 1 pick because he seemed to be “the only member of the council who wants to talk about things that need to be fixed.”

He also has fans among his former peers on the council. “Brian’s a great guy and a good colleague. I’ve known him for several years and I think he will bring a lot to this position,” Maher said, citing his work with the Department of Transportation — during a tumultuous time of reconfiguration that eliminated entire, long-standing departments such as the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority — as well as his experience in Cambridge. “He knows the city well, he lives here, he worked on the council on zoning issues.”

“I’m very pleased — thrilled — to be working with him again,” Maher said.

A message was left Monday night with Murphy.