Lorraine Poggione honored by Folsom City Council after 30 years of overall public service

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This Friday, the scoreboard will reach its fourth quarter for Lorraine Poggione. The longtime local resident and Director of Folsom’s Parks and Recreation Department is retiring from the role she has held since 2018. 

Tuesday night, Folsom City Council opened its regular meeting by recognizing Poggione for her longtime service to the city where she has filled many roles during her career. 

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The recognition wasn’t on the public agenda and took Poggione by surprise, who regularly is in attendance for all such meetings which prompted staff to keep the recognition confidential from her while making sure her family was in attendance for it.

“Wow, what a big surprise this is. I did not anticipate this at all,” Poggione said to all in attendance.  Known for her humble hardworking style, Poggione then paid homage to those who have helped her during her time at the city. “There is no way a leader can be successful without a strong family, strong staff and strong support like I have had in my time here.”

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Poggione was promoted to the role of the City of Folsom Parks and Recreation Director in 2018. Prior to her current role, she began her career with city in 2002 when she served as the landscaping and lighting manager, overseeing the city’s Landscaping and Lighting Districts. 

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A graduate of Golden Gate University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration as well as a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from San Jose State University, Poggione has always had a strong interest in public service since her college days. 

Prior to joining the staff and executive management team of the city, she prepared environmental documents for public infrastructure, school, and commercial development projects for various engineering and planning firms. 

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When she advanced into the role of Parks and Recreation Director, Poggione took the wheel of a busy department that is very vital to the City of Folsom, a city that is known for its many programs, parks and recreational features.  She has overseen numerous different facilities and amenities during her term. 

Among the notable facilities Poggione has overseen is Folsom’s Steve Miklos Aquatic Center, the Andy Morin Sports Complex, the Folsom Senior and Art Center, the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary and others. Add to that list, more than 48 parks and now more than 50 miles of recreational trails, and more than 1,000 acres of open space; and many special events for the community.  

During her term, Poggione has managed current and future park development initiatives and served as an advisor to the Folsom Parks & Recreation Commission. She oversees the department’s 48 full-time and more than 300 part-time employees with an annual operating budget of $17 million.

One of the notable notches on her career resume was when she served multiple years, including as a co-chair and then took the chairperson role for the local organizing committee when the city welcomed the nationally known Amgen Tour of California bicyclist race two different times. 

In her personal life, Poggione is a cancer survivor. She is known for her support and mentorship of others fighting cancer as she is a walking example of survival and success. 

As she bids farewell to her office this Friday, Poggione eaves a department that has grown to some 48 full time employees, 300 part time employees, all on an operating budget of $17 million.  During her term, Poggione has been known to overcome many challenges that were thrown in her path, such as changes in the economy, budget shortfalls, requirements set forth in 2020 during the pandemic and the subsequent rise out of it today. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Manager Elaine Andersen and the council acknowledged Poggione for her dedicated work through some tough times for the city, especially during the effects of COVID-19.

“Elaine you are extraordinary. You took the reins of your department just about the same time the world turned crazy and that department was arguably one of the most affected by the pandemic,” said Andersen. 

“With no predecessor to lean on and virtually no playbook to go by, you dealt with massive budget reductions that closed down program. Then you graciously accepted minuscule allocations as they were presented to slowly rebuild and reopen them.”

Andersen described Poggione as the city’s “go to” person for needs, not only in her department but across others and always knowing, “the back story, just who to call and always being able to find the magic document we need.”

Lorraine Poggione, Director of Folsom’s Parks and Recreation Department is looking forward to more time with her grandkids as she enjoys remitment. Photo: Bill Sullivan

Through the years, Poggione has been known to work many late nights in her role. She joked Tuesday night that she often texts her husband that she is headed home, only to text him an hour later to update him that she still hasn’t event left yet. Her countless hours have not gone unnoticed by others. 

“Even though Friday is her last day, I can tell everyone here tonight that Lorraine has been working day and night to wrap up many projects she has had going and working with staff on the transition,” said Anderson. “The other day I thanked her profusely for this and she responded by saying she doesn’t how to be anyone else.”

Mayor Rosario Rodriguez read the long list of Poggione’s accolades Tuesday evening.  From her ability to work through times of budget and program cuts to their eventual restoration, her reinvigorating of the Johnny Cash Trail to the development of many new parks across the community and more. 

“Lorraine calmly and competently oversaw the department through the upheaval, uncertainty and continuously evolving COVID-19 pandemic, including the closure and gradual reopening of Parks and Recreation facilities and services,” reads the Resolution of Commendation they presented her with. 

So, after more than 30-years of public and private sector service, what’s next for Poggione? She plans to spend more time with her young grandchildren for one. Additionally, she and her husband Todd are avid cyclists and recreationalist and plan to enjoy more time doing the things they love and time with their growing family.  She does, however, plan to remain active in the Folsom community. 

“I’m’ not going anywhere, I hope I won’t be a pain to anybody in retirement though,” said Poggione. “I’m looking forward to it.  I just want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone here and everyone who has helped me through the years. I really appreciate the opportunities I have had.” 

The City of Folsom will be announcing Poggione’s replacement for the role of Parks and Recreation Director in the coming days. 

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan has over 25 years of professional journalism and content creation experience in which he has earned 37 professional awards. He is the co-founder/publisher of Folsom Times an All Town Media LLC product.