BARSTOW After 10 years off-and-on with the Barstow Veterans Home, Administrator Arthur Robles has announced his retirement.

Robles notified the Veterans Home staff in a letter, announcing his retirement will take effect Dec. 30.

"It has been a distinct pleasure and honor for me to serve along side of (my staff) and be a member of this outstanding team," Robles wrote to his staff.

Robles took over the duties more than three years ago, though he didn't officially become administrator until February 2009.

The position of administrator is appointed by the state governor. Officials say they are still in the process of finding a replacement, which Robles said may take three to four months.

The administrator manages communication with the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

Skilled Nursing Administrator Jeff Aronson said the day-to-day operations shouldn't change because they are managed by the assistant administrator and the skilled nursing administrator.

During his years as administrator, the veterans home achieved five-star ratings with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service.

"That's a very significant accomplishment because when (the Veterans Home was) decertified, and they closed the Skilled Nursing Unit, it gave the wrong impression and the wrong image of the home, and that image still exists even though we're a five-star facility," Robles said.

Robles said the home also improved its Surveys and Audits as well as better managed their finances, coming under budget for several years.

Robles attempted to retire before, leaving the Home in 2006 and then returning again in 2009. But this time he says he retiring for good.

"I'll probably start working on my antique cars that I have," Robles said. "Right now I have a 1956 Mercury Montclair that I work with a two-door hard-top. It's my pride and joy."

Robles, an Air Force veteran, held various county and state leadership positions before he began with the Veterans Home in 2000.

Those who worked close with him said losing Robles is "bittersweet."

"We're losing a civil servant of over 30 years," Aronson said. "He's done a tremendous service to veterans, the Barstow community and to the home here."

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