Garden City City Manager Matt Allen recently was named the recipient of the Buford Watson Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Management by the Kansas Association of City/County Management during the association’s annual conference Nov. 14 through 16 in Pittsburg.

Under the leadership of Allen, who has been city manager since 2008 after having served as the assistant city manager for six years, his team has received state and national recognition for innovation in areas of public participation, local government social media, fiscal transparency, embracing diversity and healthy community design for rural communities, according to a press release from the City of Garden City.

“From the moment I first learned about the award three years ago, I couldn’t imagine another manager in the state more deserving,” Assistant City Manager Jennifer Cunningham said in the release. “Matt is everything the award represents. We are lucky as staff to have him as our leader and lucky as a community to have someone that cares and is so deeply connected.”

John Deardoff, city manager in Hutchinson, nominated Allen for the award.

“Matt has been a strong voice for southwest Kansas through his work on major regional transportation issues involving Essential Air Service, Amtrak and highways,” Deardoff wrote in his letter of nomination.

Garden City Mayor Roy Cessna said he was proud to see Allen honored with the award.

“Matt is very deserving of this recognition,” Cessna said in the city’s release. “He provides outstanding leadership to the City of Garden City. He shares his knowledge that helps develop city staff and others in the community and region.”

Allen was raised in Garden City and holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from Bethany College, as well as a master’s of public administration from the University of Kansas. His first job in city management was as a part-time intern with Saline County in 1994. He also has held positions with the City of Lenexa, City of Salina, City of Joplin, Mo., and City of Oakley before returning to Garden City.