Solvang Mayor Charlie Uhrig Retires From County Sheriff’s Office | Local News

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During opening remarks at a Solvang City Council Valentine’s Day meeting, Mayor Charlie Uhrig took the opportunity to announce his retirement from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office effective March 31.

Uhrig broke down in tears as he turned to Councilman Jim Thomas, the now-retired Santa Barbara County sheriff who hired Uhrig 17 years ago, and thanked him for doing the job. hiring. Uhrig said he thought it was fitting that they started out as teammates in the sheriff’s office and now serve on the same team representing Solvang residents.

City Manager Xenia Bradford and other staff, unsure if Uhrig would make the announcement at the meeting, had surreptitiously prepared. When the announcement was made, Bradford and staff surprised him with a plaque and signed card in appreciation of his years of service at Solvang as a Community Services Assistant.

Solvang Police Chief Lt. Jeff Greene of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office was also present during the presentation, appearing via Zoom.

“Charlie, I can’t tell you everything you’ve done for the valley, the people of Solvang and for our department. It crushes me to lose you and (deputy) Mike (Guynn), you two. I get it, and I love that you’re happy and retired, and it’ll probably give you more free time to do a bunch of other stuff that you deserve to do. But I want you to know that you and Mike are irreplaceable and I will miss you,” Greene said.

“He was my last boss there,” Uhrig said, as Greene logged off.

“Now you have 5,800 bosses,” Council member Robert Clarke said, breaking the tension, as Uhrig wiped his eyes.

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“Mike grew up in the valley and knows everyone. Incredible resource for patrol deputies,” said Uhrig, when contacted after the meeting.

Uhrig — the self-described “old new, or new old” — served as Solvang’s community services deputy for 16 years under the city’s contract with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office until the city council cancels this contract in February 2020. An on-the-job injury which led to back surgery in June 2019 had already led Uhrig to request a transfer to serve in the courts.

Uhrig’s heart has long belonged to Solvang, where he has helped create popular community events including Movies in the Park, Rec n’ Roll, shred day, teen classes, a variety of youth programs and Concerts in the Park.

He played bass at the first gig in this series and worked with the Salvation Army to coordinate kettle orders that funded trips to camp in the Malibu Canyon. He coached basketball at Solvang School before starting a club basketball team and coached sprints and hurdles for five years at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

“I was there for my kid and the other kids because it was fun. I like being with young people because it gives you the energy they have,” Uhrig told the Santa Maria Times in October 2020.

As part of his job, Uhrig has also participated in various city meetings, including the Planning Commission, BAR, Parks and Recreation Commission, and City Council.

“I feel like this is my community. I have three children who still live here in Solvang, and because I’ve worked here for so long and lived in the valley, I still feel like Solvang is home. Sounds a little corny, but I’ve always loved Solvang. It’s a great little town,” Uhrig said.

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