The Kentucky League of Cities was honored to recognize the recipients of the 2023 KLC Awards during the annual Conference & Expo in Lexington. An independent panel of judges reviewed this year’s nominations and selected the winners. KLC presents awards every year to a City Government of the Year, City Employee of the Year, and Elected City Official of the Year. KLC also gives a Leadership Enrichment and Development (LEAD) Award to a deserving Kentucky mayor.
“We love having the opportunity to highlight just a few of the wonderful things going on in our cities and the dedicated people making them happen,” remarked KLC Executive Director|CEO James D. Chaney. “KLC is blessed to have such dedicated members, partners, and city officials helping Kentucky grow and prosper. Congratulations to this year’s winners and all the deserving nominees.”
The KLC City Government of the Year Award recognizes a city that has done something transformational. The nomination for the City of Fort Mitchell praised the community’s progress, innovation, and community engagement. City officials prioritized growth and community service, invested in neighborhood improvements, attracted new business, and secured federal grants.
“I am deeply humbled and honored by this recognition,” responded Fort Mitchell Mayor Jude Hehman. “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire community, from our city council and staff to our residents and local businesses. Together, we achieve great strides in making our city a better place to live, work, and thrive."
Collins & Company, Inc. sponsors the City Government of the Year award and will donate $1,000 to support a city program or project.
The Elected City Official of the Year Award recognizes a dynamic official demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation. Carlisle city employees nominated Mayor Ronnie Clark for his leadership and strong financial stewardship.
When voters elected Mayor Clark in 2018, the city was seven audits behind and in the red. Under his leadership, Carlisle emerged into financial solvency, balanced the budget, and conducted timely audits. The city also purchased a new fire truck, police vehicles, maintenance equipment, and a garbage truck and constructed a new city maintenance building.
“Thank you for this honor,” Mayor Clark responded. “I have to first thank my employees; without them, this wouldn't be possible. When you have people that give 110% every day, it makes things like this come easy. I'm so grateful and thankful to KLC for wanting to be a part of our community.”
Adams Law sponsors the Elected City Official of the Year award and will make a $1,000 donation to a local nonprofit of Mayor Clark's choice.
The City Employee of the Year Award recognizes an exceptional city employee who performs at a distinguished level to improve his or her local government and community. Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory nominated City Administrator Ed Poppe, calling him “the municipal maestro leading the government orchestra.”
Poppe started with the city in 1981 and has held various roles and responsibilities, including his current position as city administrator. “It’s a real honor to be recognized by the Kentucky League of Cities,” Poppe responded. “But the real honor to me is that the mayor submitted my name and had the support of all the department heads. I’m real appreciative of the blessing I’ve had to be able to work for the city. The recognition is secondary to me. I just love the city and love my job, and we’ll continue to work to do the best we can for the citizens of our community.”
Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP, sponsors the City Employee of the Year Award and will provide a $1,000 donation to a charity of Poppe’s selection.
Ann Cline Deatherage was a lifelong public servant who served as a council member and mayor of the City of Carrollton. After her passing in February 2020, her family and KLC established the Mayor Ann C. Deatherage LEAD Award to recognize a Kentucky mayor whose leadership demonstrates a passion for local public service and commitment to lifelong learning.
The 2023 winner, West Buechel Mayor Brenda Moore, thanked the Deatherage family and KLC for the recognition. “I had the privilege of attending many KLC events with Ann, and I cherish all those memories. She was such a lovely lady,” Mayor Moore stated. “I am honored to receive this year’s LEAD Award as I know how much continuous learning meant to Ann. It is so important that we all continue to embrace new and exciting ways to improve our cities as we work toward the same goal of improved communities and a better Kentucky.”