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Retiring Chaffee County Director of General Administration Bob Christiansen and former Salida Mayor Jim Dickson listen as Commissioner Greg Felt thanks him on behalf of the county community for his leadership. Photo by Jan Wondra

Christiansen’s Contributions to Chaffee County Long and Numerous

Chaffee County gave a proper send-off to its long-time Director of General Administration Bob Christiansen on Friday night. The High Side! Bar & Grill was packed with people representing Christiansen’s different phases of county service, from working in and then heading up the Department of Human Services, and his years as head administrator of the county.

“It’s been a great ride,” he commented Friday evening, beaming above his Hawaiian shirt and St. Patricks Day tie. “I’ve worked with some wonderful people and it has been so rewarding.”

He pointed out that many of the people from his early days in the Chaffee Department of Human Services had come to the gathering and and several of his children from out-of-state, and grandchildren were there as well.

“I guess I’ve trained 15 county commissioners during my time as Director of General Administration,” he added. “And it has been an honor to serve this county.”

For its part, the sitting Board of County Commissioners issued a county proclamation this past week, honoring Christiansen’s accomplishments and celebrating his long, successful years of service.

It read in part:

Following thirty years of dedicated service to the citizens of Chaffee County, including fourteen years as Department of Human Services Director and the past sixteen as Director of General Administration, Robert “Bob” Christiansen, has announced his intent to retire on February 28, 2023.

Administrator Christiansen has seen the population of Chaffee County almost double since he began his tenure with the County in 1993, bringing changes and opportunities to the  community that he has navigated with notable grace and aplomb, while he adeptly served under 15 different elected Commissioners.

While many of County Administrator Christiansen’s impacts are often understated due to his humility and humble nature, his deep support for the children and families of the community are clear hallmarks of his career, evidenced through programs like the Chaffee County Boys and Girls Club, Chaffee County Mentors, and Family Youth Initiatives, each established and strengthened under his leadership. In more recent years, Administrator Christiansen helped to lead Chaffee County through the crises of the COVID-19 Pandemic and 2019 Decker Wildfire, constantly showing his unflappable spirit and generous heart to support all manner of community need.

After recounting his many accomplishments, the BoCC proclamation concluded:

that “it reluctantly acknowledged and accepted the County Administrator Christiansen’s Retirement and the Board hereby takes great pleasure in recognizing the significant professional achievements of Robert “Bob” Christiansen, and expresses its sincere gratitude for the invaluable contributions he has made to Chaffee County.”

Christiansen announced his retirement after more than 30 years of service to Chaffee County back in December, giving the county time to adjust, and begin a candidate search for his replacement.

“It’s been 30 great years. When I started as administrator I said I’ll look at five years,” began Christiansen in his announcement, admitting that he could not bring himself to read his retirement letter out loud. “It’s time for someone else to come in and have a great career. We’ve got some great young hires, I’m thrilled to death to have that kind of legacy.”