Mary Palmer to Retire & Pass the Baton to Toshia Ranallo in Marathon County Administration

Written by Lance Leonhard

On behalf of Marathon County Administration, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to a very special person who has helped our organization in countless ways and has been an essential component of so many of our successes — Mary Palmer. I can’t adequately describe how integral Mary has been during my time in County Administration, particularly since accepting the Administrator position. Quite simply, she has been indispensable, and I will be forever grateful for all she has done to help our organization and me personally.

And, it is with great gratitude that I announce Mary will be retiring from her position as Executive Administrative Coordinator on December 11, 2020. She has more than earned her right to a wonderful, long retirement.

With one change comes another, as County Administration welcomes Toshia Ranallo, who is already working with Mary to learn as much as she can to get prepared for her new role. Toshia has a strong history of public service, having worked for over a decade in several local governments, including most recently, Marathon County’s Conservation, Planning & Zoning Department since 2018. I’m certain that we found the right person to help us continue to be successful.

I invite you to read the short statement that Mary put together below as she reflected on her time with us and her hopes for retirement, followed by a quick introduction to her successor, Toshia Ranallo.


 A Farewell Interview with Executive Administrative Coordinator Mary Palmer

How did your career with Marathon County begin?

“I was hired by Donna Seidel in 2000 and was in the Probate Office for about a year and a half. Then I was hired by Phyllis Birmingham and transferred to Employment and Training (which no longer exists). As that department was merging with Social Services and my job was being eliminated, I was hired by Mort McBain as the Confidential Administrative Specialist to County Administration and Justice Programs, where I am today. Over my 20-year career in Marathon County Government, I’ve worked with three County Administrators, three Deputy Administrators, three County Board Chairs, and multiple County Board members. It has been an honor and a pleasure working with them all.”

What do you consider to be some of your most significant accomplishments?

“As I reflected on my long career with Marathon County, I read through Administrator Brad Karger’s farewell message from last year in which he recounted the impact he had during his 30+ years of service to the County. As one of the people behind the scenes of major projects and changes over the past 13 years, I can proudly claim that I was involved in nearly all of them. While I wasn’t the person up front in the spotlight when the site of the former landfill became the 15-field Marathon County Sports Complex or when the Center for Civic Engagement was built, you can believe that I was busy making things happen in the background. I am especially proud to have been directly involved in Role Models of our Core Values, Martin Luther King Jr. “Day On,” the Leadership and Management Development Program, the Brown Bag Lunch series, and the Culture Survey, to name just a few.”

What do you believe to have been your strengths?

“I believe that building relationships is one of my best strengths. I’m always willing to listen and offer my insight, or to just lend an ear. This trait has led to me forming many friendships over the years, both internally and externally, and these friendships are what I will truly miss. Marathon County employees are the very best co-workers. Every department has several special people who, no matter what I needed or they needed from me, were just a phone call or email away. You know who you are, and I will miss you most.”

What are your plans for retirement?

“Eventually, I will travel and visit family and friends, but that will have to be put on hold for a while due to COVID. I have a lot of projects around the house to keep me busy, which I plan to dive into after the holidays. I’m excited to give myself some time to adjust to life in retirement and then see what lies ahead for me.

 I’ve enjoyed my years serving the people of Marathon County immensely, and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had along this wonderful journey. As my retirement date of December 11 approaches, my wish for all of you is to stay happy and healthy and to be kind to one another!”


 An Introductory Chat with Administrative Coordinator Toshia Ranallo

Tell us a bit about yourself…

“I’m a wife, a mother of three amazing sons, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a teammate. I would describe my personality as welcoming, sociable, and determined but easy-going.”

What interested you in working for Marathon County?

“I really enjoy working in a government setting and being able to serve my community and its residents. I started my career in Government Administration 13 years ago for the Village of Wausaukee in Marinette County. For 9 years, I appreciated the challenges and achievements that went along with the responsibilities of being their Municipal Clerk. When I moved to Marathon County in 2016, I took a position with the Village of Rothschild as their Administrative Assistant. It was a very pleasant community to work in, but I knew that Marathon County Government was where I wanted to continue my career. In 2018, I accepted a job in the Conservation, Planning & Zoning (CPZ) Department and quickly learned that I made the right career choice. Marathon County’s core values and culture are by far the best I’ve ever experienced. I am also grateful for CPZ’s extended principles of always applying the HKR (Honesty, Kindness, and Respect) approach to all who work in or visit the department.”

 What do you think of the job in Administration so far?

“I’m eager to dive right in, learn, and share any past experiences that may be helpful. I’m enthusiastic to be working with the County Administration team, policymakers, different departments and their employees, and most importantly serving our Marathon County residents.”

While you’re not at work, what do you like to do in your free time?

“I appreciate all the outdoor activities that Marathon County has to offer and sharing these memories with my family — like skiing at Granite Peak or Nine Mile Forest, or hiking at the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park. When I’m not attending my son’s sports activities, most friends know I’m enjoying my own. I love being part of a volleyball team, whether that be women’s teams, co-ed leagues, or simply playing pick-up games.

A high priority I keep close to my heart is being able to spend time or to lend a helping hand to my extended family. That may be gathering for a family project, playing cards, or exchanging stories by the fire.

 One of my favorite quotes is by Elizabeth Jane Howard:

 ‘Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.’”

Lance Leonard - Marathon County Deputy Administrator

Lance Leonhard

Marathon County Administrator

Lance Leonhard began his career in Marathon County Government in the Office of Corporation Counsel. He then served as Deputy Administrator and currently serves as the Marathon County Administrator. Lance’s career in public service has spanned more than a decade, having worked for the federal government as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for the state of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney. Outside of work, you’re likely to find Lance spending time with his family, traveling, teeing off on a local golf course, or sitting around a campfire with friends.  Email Lance Leonhard

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