The John J. DeBolske Professional Excellence Award was created in 1997 to recognize city/county managers who demonstrate the highest level of
professional excellence in local government and who have made life contributions in serving the profession. This award is the highest honor
that ACMA may bestow upon a member. The namesake of the award, Jack DeBolske, was the executive director of the League of Arizona Cities and
Towns for 40 years.
This year, ACMA recognizes Ken Buchanan, Ken has served in five Arizona cities and one county in his 37-year career. He has served with
distinction and has established and maintained a solid reputation for integrity and competence in city and county management.
Mr. Buchanan began his career in the city of Eloy as the director of parks and recreation in 1976, moving to the position of assistant to the
city manager in 1980. His first manager position was with the town of Florence in 1983. His familiarity with central Arizona helped pave the
way to success. During his tenure, Florence achieved certification through the Arizona Historic Preservation Office as part of its efforts to
preserve the Florence Historic District. He also led the community through important community planning initiatives, and to receive designation
as only one of the two Economic Development Demonstration Districts in the state to assist in facilitating growth and development in the
community. In 1991, Ken left Florence to become the town manager of Payson. During his four years in Payson, he led the town's transformation
to a program budget format in concert with the incorporation of a strategic planning process. The establishment of a community park that
included a water reclamation and conservation project was an outstanding example of intergovernmental cooperation to achieve both environmental
and community benefit. He was also involved with the development of an enhanced regional emergency communications system and significant
expansion and improvement at the municipal airport.
In 1995, Ken moved to the city of Casa Grande after being appointed as the city manager. He led the city through a period of significant growth
and development, and brought his strategic planning experience to help his elected officials focus on key issues in growth management and
planning. One of his most significant contributions in Casa Grande involved the city acquisition of the former downtown high school campus,
establishment of two associated redevelopment districts, and the subsequent remodeling projects which resulted in the high school "Old Main"
building becoming City Hall. Additional community recreational facilities, including a new family aquatics center, were also part of his
legacy. In 2004, Ken left Casa Grande to become Pinal County's assistant city manager for development services. He tackled the difficult
development problems with skill and confidence, introducing and implementing a growth planning initiative along with updates of the county
comprehensive plan and antiquated subdivision standards and zoning code. After eight years with Pinal County, he moved to Fountain Hills to
become the town manager - the position he serves in today. Through his many years of experience, Ken has made a lasting impression in this