Topeka Roderick Bremby, who is at the center of the fight over two coal-fired power plants, was named "Public Administrator of the Year" by the Kansas chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.
Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, was to receive his award Thursday during a ceremony at Washburn University about the same time the Kansas House was going to vote on whether to force construction of the two plants.
"Secretary Bremby's dedication and progressive leadership is helping move the public service sector toward greater responsiveness, while continuing the emphasis on good stewardship of health and environmental resources," said Thomas Langer, ASPA president.
Bremby made national headlines last year when as KDHE secretary, he rejected permits for the two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants, citing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.
The decision unleashed a firestorm of criticism from officials who supported the plants, and the issue has dominated the agenda of the legislative session.
Lawmakers have approved legislation to overturn Bremby's decision, but those bills have been vetoed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Veto override attempts have been the focus of the current wrap-up session.
Prior to being appointed KDHE secretary by Sebelius in 2003, Bremby was associate director of the Kansas University Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development. He earlier served for 10 years as the assistant city manager of Lawrence. He holds a master's degree in public administration from KU.
The Mike Harder Public Administrator of the Year Award is given annually by the Kansas chapter of the ASPA to honor an outstanding public servant within the state.
Past recipients include Sebelius, Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh and Steven J. Davies, then-secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections.