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A Folsom Farewell: Retiring city manager reflects on 23-years

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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After nearly 23 years of civil service with the City of Folsom, City Manager Evert Palmer will be officially retiring on Sunday, July 15, and he will be able to enjoy his second cup of coffee in the morning at home with his wife, Laura.

Palmer received his graduate degree in public administration in 2010 and his undergraduate degree in organizational development and leadership, but is vocationally trained in computer programming and analysis.

“I was one of those computer wiz kids,” Palmer laughed.

The 58-year-old started his career in the Information Technology (IT) field working for the County of Nevada, and after some time, he had some ideas and thought he could be a leader.

Palmer was hired as the city’s first IT director in 1996.

“This opportunity came and it looked like a great, growing city and a good organization, so I put my head in the ring, and I was selected,’ he said. “Windows open, windows close. If you’re lucky, you jump through the right one.”

Shortly after being hired, Palmer became the assistant finance director. In 2002, he was promoted to director of administrative services, and in 2006, he became the assistant city manager. Lastly, in 2011, he was promoted to city manager.

When asked what his favorite thing about working in the city was, he said watching the town develop into what it is now – vibrant.

“My favorite thing has been just watching the city develop into the vibrant city that it is today. It was much, much different in 1996, and it was a nice place then; it is a great place now,” he said. “Folsom has a lot going on. It is very attractive. People move here from a lot of places around the country and around the world. One thing I like to say is that no one moved to Folsom because their car broke down on the way to somewhere else. This is a great community and people seek it out because of the lifestyle this community offers.”

When asked what he will miss the most, Palmer said the interactions with the people around him.

“When you are in my job, you have a lot of friendly interactions; you have some that can be a little contentious,” he said. “By and large, I still have good working relationships with folks even when we disagree. I think that is one measure of a quality our organization has when you can disagree agreeably and still work to create the No. 1 place to raise a family.”

The Auburn resident is looking forward to his retirement, but he doesn’t have any plans yet. Palmer has two children and eight grandchildren who are very involved.

“I like to go to sporting events, and I have plenty of grandkids involved in plenty of different sporting events – volleyball, soccer, baseball – so I like to chase them around and watch them achieve their goals,” he said.

Among other hobbies, Palmer is looking forward to shooting trap, fly fishing, playing his guitar and relaxing with family.

Palmer said if there was one thing he is proud of in Folsom, it would be Folsom being ranked the No. 1 place to raise a family in California.

“Over the years with all of the things we have done, and there has been a great deal of things happen here – the Historic District revitalization, building the library, the Johnny Cash Bridge, Trail and Art project,” he said. “The one thing I am most proud of is all of the things that have happened here have led many organizations, without any solicitation of our own, to rate us as some great upcoming city in this humble little suburb of Sacramento – the No. 1 place to raise a family in California. Who would not want to live in the No. 1 place to raise a family?”

Palmer said it is amazing to him that it happened while he was city manager.

“Family values are expressed in so many different ways, but never in a negative way. That says so much about a community to be evaluated in that way,” he said. “To have that happen, is pretty amazing to me.”

Assistant City Manager Elaine Andersen, who will be stepping in as city manger very soon, wanted to express how grateful she is to have learned from and known Palmer.

“I am indebted to Evert Palmer. I have told him that many, many times personally,” she said. “I am grateful for Evert’s leadership, mentorship and friendship – all of those things I value to a huge degree. He’s a very smart, strategic person who looks out for his employees, and he did that every day for us that he served here. I really want to thank him for everything he has done.”