Palmer headed to Ga. after 11-plus years in Town administration

Serving more than 11 years in Farragut government, assistant Town administrator Gary Palmer announced his resignation last week.

“As you already know, I have been offered the city administrator position for the City of Roswell, Georgia,” Palmer, a former U.S. Marine, announced to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen near the conclusion of its meeting Thursday, Oct. 12.

He added the decision was made “with mixed emotions.”

“I wasn’t necessarily looking for a new job or searching for a new path, but this opportunity presented

itself and checked all the boxes,

so to speak, for me and my wlfe, Emily.”

Palmer’s last day with the Town will be Friday, Oct. 27. He will start his new position in Roswell Nov. 1.

“It will be a quick transition, for me, from here to there,” he said.

Roswell is about 20 miles north of Atlanta, along the Chattahoochee River.

“It’s very similar to Farragut in character and its deep connection to its history,” he said. “The only difference, really, is [Roswell is] bigger,” with a population of about 40,000 versus Farragut, which is roughly 22,000.

“I hope I have had a lasting impact on the Town for the better,” Palmer added. “I do know it will be a minor hiccup with me leaving, but since we have such a talented organization, I have no doubt the team will keep moving forward with David [Smoak, Town administrator] and the Board’s leadership.

“I look forward to watching the Town’s progress from Roswell and taking everything I’ve learned here along the way. I appreciate all your support over the years. It’s sad to leave but it’s time.”

“I hate to see you go,” Mayor Ralph McGill said. “I’m sure you’ll be back to visit.”

“I’ll be back and forth for quite a while,” Palmer said.

Vice Mayor Ron Pinchok added his congratulations.

“You are going to be missed,” he said. “Thank you for your service here.”

“I’m really surprised someone hadn’t snapped you up before now,” Alderman Bob Markli said. “It was just a matter of time.”

“I feel a party coming on,” McGill said.

“Gary has been a tremendous leader during his tenure with the Town of Farragut,” Smoak said. “His professionalism, experience and dedication to our community will be sorely missed.  

“The City of Roswell is gaining an exceptional city manager and I wish Gary and his family the best in their new community,” Smoak added.

Palmer has served the Town since May 1, 2006, and spent most of that time as an assistant administrator. However, he temporarily served as interim administrator for almost a year, during the transition from Dan Olson, former Town administrator who resigned in 2009, and Smoak, who was hired in 2010.

“It’s been great overall,” Palmer said in an interview Friday, Oct. 13, about his time in Farragut. “You have people come in and out in a political realm that can change things, and you may not always agree, but in the end it’s been a fantastic experience.

“… When I got here, Parkside [Drive] wasn’t even developed in 2006. You look at it now and it’s thriving.”

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Palmer graduated from high school in 1988. He later graduated from the University of Toledo, where he earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice and a Master’s degree in public administration.

As a Marine from 1988 to 1992, Palmer achieved the rank of sergeant in Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines. He then served in the active Marine Reserves while also serving as a police officer in Virginia, both from 1992 to 1994.

Palmer then took a government administrative job in metropolitan Detroit. “I cut my teeth in government in the Tri-Metro area [of Detroit] as a Community Development director,” he said.