Oak Creek administrator resigns; Town Council selects temporary replacement
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Oak Creek’s clerk and administrator announced his resignation on Thursday less than a year after starting the position.
Chris Johnson, who took the job in January, said he enjoys the community but was feeling overworked.
“It was becoming more demanding than I am willing to give at this point in my life,” Johnson said.
His predecessor, Mary Alice Page-Allen, a seemingly tireless worker, left some large shoes to fill when she took a position in Hayden last year. One of her reasons for leaving the Oak Creek job was to have a lighter workload.
Johnson took over during a tumultuous time for anyone involved in government or town management. The COVID-19 pandemic brought widespread disruptions. Then at the end of June, Oak Creek experienced simultaneous internet and power outages after a lightning strike. The town had to run on a backup generator system for several days.
Responding to those crises was an arduous task that Johnson said was taking him away from family and friends and not allowing him to enjoy all that Routt County has to offer.
“It was taking its toll on me,” Johnson said. “The town deserves someone who can better lead them and keep the town running smoothly.”
While he is leaving his position, Johnson said he wants to stay in the county. He has applied for several jobs here, plus one in Boulder.
“For sure, I am not leaving Colorado,” he said.
Looking back on his relatively short tenure, Johnson is proud of how well he and others working for the town responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also looks forward to seeing the development of a new downtown park, using state grant funding for which Johnson applied.
On Thursday, Oak Creek Town Council went into a private, executive session to select an interim clerk and administrator from a list of three candidates, all from Colorado and all with prior experience in town administration.
The council selected David Torgler from Delta. Torgler worked as town manager for Hayden, leaving in 2015 to become Delta’s city manager. Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Koebel said Torgler has a lot of experience in administration and already knows the area well.
In the next four to six months, the town hopes to select a permanent replacement for the position, Knoebel said. Torgler expressed a interest in taking the job following the interim period.
“It’s a big job. We just hope can find the right person for our community,” Knoebel said.
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