The Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) is happy to announce that Benton Mayor Rita Dotson is a recipient of the 2021 Leadership Enrichment and Development (LEAD) Award. The annual recognition highlights Kentucky mayors who are passionate about local public service and committed to lifelong learning.
The LEAD Award is named in honor and memory of Ann Cline Deatherage, a career public servant who served as a council member and mayor of the City of Carrollton. The Deatherage family endowed the award, which is sponsored by Enterprise Fleet Management, a KLC Cornerstone Partner company. Winners are provided financial assistance to KLC training and conferences, including the 2022 KLC Conference & Expo in Owensboro.
Jerry Deatherage said the family is thankful for the ability to honor his mother through the award. “We knew how much the League and community service meant to her,” he remarked. “We wanted to be able to create a legacy that would support small city mayors.” Deatherage added that it is important for local leaders to know their commitment to the city they serve does not go unrecognized. “Knowing that they’re out there doing the community’s work can sometimes feel thankless, but it is appreciated by people in the community and throughout the state.”
In addition to serving in leadership at KLC on the Board of Directors and Executive Board, Mayor Deatherage had more continuing education hours than any city official. As a result, she inspired a KLC Master’s Level training program to recognize city officials whose commitment to learning reaches an exceptional level.
Dotson thanked the Deatherage family and KLC for the recognition. “I think it’s awesome to be able to carry on that legacy,” she said. “I like to get as much education as I can. I think that every mayor and every commissioner or council person should get in as much as they can because when you go to these classes that the League holds you come back with a better understanding of what you are trying to do in your city.”
KLC Executive Director/CEO J.D. Chaney expressed his appreciation for the Deatherage family’s commitment to KLC training. “The LEAD Award is a wonderful way to honor Mayor Deatherage, and we are grateful that the family asked KLC to take part in the program. Mayor Dotson is always eager to embrace new ideas, and she understands the value of training. We are proud to recognize her with this award.”