The Kentucky League of Cities recognized the 2022 KLC Award winners at the annual conference in Owensboro. A board of independent judges from around the state selected a City Government of the Year, Elected City Official of the Year, and City Employee of the Year. This year’s recipients span the state and highlight how the livability and safety of cities are major focuses for communities of all sizes.
“We appreciate the daily drive and dedication of city officials and employees throughout the commonwealth,” said KLC Executive Director|CEO James D. Chaney. “It is always extra special when we get an opportunity to spotlight just a few of those successes. This year’s award winners show us how innovative, effective, and impactful leadership at the city level can truly transform a community. The League and Kentucky are blessed to have these members making a difference every day in people’s lives.”
The nomination form for the City of Paducah stressed how city officials in the western Kentucky community are committed to moving the city forward. City leaders set improvement goals in 2021 and neighborhood empowerment was a major focus, including an area of the city that some people felt was overlooked. The result was the Southside Rise & Shine Neighborhood Spruce Up initiative, a unified commitment to embrace neighborhood empowerment and grow pride in the city.
Mayor George Bray expressed his appreciation for the recognition. “All of the city commission’s priorities are designed to elevate Paducah’s status and improve the quality of life for our citizens,” he remarked. “The Southside initiative is a long-term project designed to breathe life back into an area of town where so many grew up and spent so much time in our youths. Our plan is to revitalize the eight Southside neighborhoods and instill a renewed sense of pride in that area. I am absolutely thrilled that this initiative is being recognized.”
Collins & Company, Inc sponsors the City Government of the Year award and will donate $1,000 to support a city program or project.
Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf has led his city for 12 years and spent a year as KLC president. The nomination for Mayor Dieruf noted that during his time in office the city retired roughly $17 million in debt without raising taxes, attracted new jobs, invested in infrastructure, and improved the city’s Veterans Park.
“I am deeply humbled to receive this honor from my colleagues across Kentucky who serve their communities as elected and appointed officials,” Mayor Dieruf responded. “My service with KLC as president for two years and as a member of the board taught me that cities reap tremendous benefits by working together as cities helping cities. In addition, I have gained the friendship of hundreds of elected officials across Kentucky, and I treasure them. I look forward to working with them in the years to come. We have enjoyed prosperity together, and we have joined together during troubling times. It has been a tremendous gift to be able to work with so many people who share a common trait ‒ a deep love for their home towns.”
Adams Law sponsors the Elected City Official of the Year award and will make a $1,000 donation to a local nonprofit of Mayor Dieruf's choice.
“A real visionary and consummate professional.” That’s how Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch described Parks & Recreation Superintendent Tab Brockman. He has been with the city since 2015, improving various parks and public events. “KLC is revealing to the commonwealth what we in Hopkinsville already know: Tab Brockman is the standard in Kentucky in the field of Parks and Recreation,” remarked City Administrator Troy Body. “We couldn’t be more proud.”
“It is such an honor to be recognized by KLC on behalf of Hopkinsville and our great team with the city," Brockman said. "I am flattered to receive the award. However, none of it is possible without a fabulous team at parks and recreation and a community that totally understands and embraces collaboration.”
Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP, sponsor the City Employee of the Year Award and will provide a $1,000 donation to the United Way of the Pennyrile in Brockman’s name.
The Leadership Enrichment and Development (LEAD) Award recognizes a Kentucky mayor whose leadership demonstrates a passion for local public service and a commitment to lifelong learning. Enterprise Fleet Management sponsors the LEAD Award which provides mayors from cities with a limited education/training budget registration to the Conference & Expo and City Officials Academy. The award was named to honor the late Ann Deatherage, a lifelong public servant who served as councilmember and mayor of the City of Carrollton.
This year’s LEAD Award winner is Whitesburg Mayor Tiffany Craft. “It is of the highest honor to receive this award, in large part due to the special woman it is named for,” Mayor Craft responded. “Ann’s role with KLC is the example I aspire to be for young men and women who have chosen to be leaders in their communities. Ann was a light to all of us. Not just through community service, but with her infectious smile.”