In the Christmas movie classic "It's a Wonderful Life," George Bailey excitedly proclaims, "I'm going to build things! I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long...."

That declaration inspired a young Matthew Morton. When his friends were outside playing, he'd be in his backyard building "cities." It sparked a career interest in planning and public service.

He majored in geography in college and became a local government planner, working his way up to become City Administrator in two cities in Washington State.

On Monday, Morton started a new chapter in his career when he became the City of Palm Coast's new City Manager. He spent his first day mostly in meetings, learning about issues and services and getting to know staff from every department.

"I've been doing my homework, reading codes and ordinances, listening to the Council meetings, studying Palm Coast's history, talking with Council Members, and getting a feel for the vision," Morton said. "My aim is to hit the ground running."

Morton has already fallen in love with Palm Coast - and he's excited to meet residents out in the community and help the Palm Coast City Council maintain the community's exceptional quality of life and achieve its vision for the future. There's always a new challenge in local government, he said, and he believes in finding solutions in partnership with the stakeholders.

"Residents are our best tactical strategists. They have a passion and knowledge," he said. "I love to hear people's ideas, but also their ideas for solutions."

As City Manager, Morton is Palm Coast's CEO, managing day-to-day operations, putting together a budget for the City Council and implementing the priorities and direction of the City Council. The directors of 10 City departments report to Morton.

"Matt brings a unique and positive approach to how we build a distinctive and sustainable community that ensures our residents are receiving quality services, a high quality of life and a vibrant future," said Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland. "I am very excited to welcome him to our beautiful community."

Morton comes to Palm Coast with more than 20 years of experience in local governments. Most recently he served as City Administrator in Duvall, Washington, and prior to that as City Administrator in Cle Elum, Washington.

He grew up in Florida, California and Washington, earning his undergraduate degree in geography from Central Washington University. He earned an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from the University of South Dakota. He completed the Harvard Kennedy School's Senior Executive in State and Local Government program in 2017, and before that attended the Walt Disney Institute to learn the Disney approach for leadership and customer service engagement. He is an ICMA-credentialed manager through the International City/County Management Association and was recognized by ICMA for 20 years of executive service at the organization's annual conference in 2017.

Morton and his wife Wendy have two children. In his free time, he enjoys urban hiking - a perfect fit for Palm Coast's 130 miles of connecting, tree-lined trails!

For more information, please contact Communications & Marketing Manager Cindi Lane at clane@palmcoastgov.com and 386-986-3708.