Vista Mayor Judy Ritter reads a “Letter of Appreciation” to Director of Public Works Chuck Crist, who is retiring after 27 years of service. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Cities Community Vista

Crist retires after 27 years of service to city

VISTA — Vista Mayor Judy Ritter presented outgoing Director of Public Works Chuck Crist with a special recognition for his 27 years of dedicated public service to the city of Vista. Ritter shared highlights of his career including his climb in the ranks from park maintenance worker, to park supervisor, to public services operations manager and then ultimately director of public works in 2012.

“Over the years, Chuck received numerous letters from both internal staff and the community commending him for his excellent work and customer service,” Ritter said.

In 2014, Crist was nominated for the Excellence in Service Award. In years 2006, 2008 and 2009 he was nominated for Manager of the Year and won in 2009.

“Chuck accomplished a great deal during his tenure with the city of Vista,” Ritter said. “He oversaw the replacement of 3,400 low-pressure sodium streetlights with more efficient LEDs to reduce our energy costs producing an estimated $500,000 in annual savings.”

Crist was instrumental in improving the city’s numerous parks, which included energy-efficient tennis and basketball lights at Thibodo Park as well as sidewalk improvements at Brengle Terrace Park.

Crist, a longtime Vista resident, graduated from Vista High School and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration from San Diego State University. Currently, he serves as adjunct professor at Palomar College for public works administration.

“Chuck will be remembered in the organization for his integrity, his work ethic and positive nature,” Ritter said. “Never one to take personal credit, Chuck will be the first to say that he’s honored to work with a talented team of professionals in the Public Works Department who share a steadfast commitment to providing exceptional service to the citizens of Vista, improving Vista’s quality of life and being good stewards of the public resources.” 

After Ritter offered Crist well wishes for his retirement and future endeavors, there was a long applause welcoming Crist to speak.

He began by saying that he had been accused of being a man of few words, but that it had been a privilege working at the city of Vista for more than two decades. Crist described partnering with the executive management team at the city as both an honor and privilege. 

Crist turned to the dais facing the City Council, City Manager Patrick Johnson and City Attorney Darold Pieper and said, “It’s really been a privilege working with all of you as well. Your sacrifice and your service to the community is unwavering and we truly appreciated your supportive staff.” 

Crist singled out Johnson, thanking him for his leadership.

“You’ve been a great mentor, and my family and I are so grateful to have gotten to know you,” he said.

Crist then shared that success is achieved in concert with the people working behind the scenes. While he had a great career, Crist said it involved the collaboration of many very talented people and public service employees. 

“I’m honored to have had the privilege to serve this community for 27 years, so thank you all,” he said.

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