County Official Is Manhattan’s New Administrator

Village of Manhattan Graphic

By Nick Reiher
Nick Palmer, who has served as Chief of Staff for Will County Executive Larry Walsh and for the Will County Board, will begin his new duties as Manhattan Village Administrator on January 3.
Palmer, 48, was hired as Deputy Chief of Staff for the late Larry Walsh in 2004, becoming Chief of Staff following the death of Chief of Staff Matt Ryan from cancer.
He took on more Executive duties as Walsh battled cancer, finally succumbing in June 2020. Following a failed bid for the Democratic nomination for County Executive in 2020, Palmer was hired as the Will County Board’s Chief of Staff after the departure of Moira Dunn.
With so much time working for the county, the Bolingbrook native said he leaves with mixed feelings.
Palmer said he knew Walsh when the latter was a senator, and he was working for the Department of Commerce as a Senate staffer.
“We were surprised he ran for County Executive,” Palmer recalled. “He got in late in the game. Then, he got like 3,000 signatures in the first few weeks.”
After the election, Palmer was happy Walsh asked him to become part of his county staff so he could be closer to his wife Laura and children in Bolingbrook.
Palmer filled in for Ryan as Chief of Staff as the latter battled two rounds of cancer. Following Ryan’s passing, he continued to serve as interim until being named permanent chief. He often accompanied Walsh on various business trips, including those in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Through many of those meetings, he became familiar with the Will County Center for Economic Development, the Will County Governmental League and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
Palmer said those connections likely helped him earn the administrator’s job with Manhattan. The post has been vacant since the departure of Kevin Sing, now the Finance Director for the City of Joliet.
Palmer said he thought of leaving the county following the 2020 County Executive election, but the opportunity to become County Board Chief of Staff was too good to pass up.
“Although it was very different,” he said. “In the Executive’s Office, I was helping to direct policy, instead of advising the board on it.”
Preparing to expand his horizons along municipal government, Palmer also began working on a Master’s of Public Administration degree at Northern Illinois University.
After talking several times with Mayor Mike Adrieansen and the village board, Palmer was unanimously approved at the last board meeting.
“We took our time over the last year to find a high-quality candidate with the expertise we were looking for in an administrator,” Adrieansen said in a press release.
“We are looking forward to working with Nick to advance our goals as a village.”
Palmer said it will be very different working with a six-person board instead of one that has 22, and only two meetings a month instead of several committee meetings each week leading up to a monthly board meeting.
“But I’m sure there will be a lot to keep me busy.”

 

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