By Cindy Brovsky
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Many people will be surprised to learn Gov. Bill Ritter’s longtime executive assistant won’t be answering the phone or greeting visitors at the state Capitol this session.
Denver District Attorney’s Office
Flossy Aston quietly retired after the 2009 session.
“It’s been six months, but people are still telling me they didn’t know I left,” Aston said. “I miss Bill, but my brain was telling me I needed a rest.”
She declined a retirement party because of the expense and time, plus she’d already had a party when she retired from the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Aston said. She’s spending her retirement traveling to visit family, reading, listening to music and reconnecting with friends.
Aston, 63, worked for Ritter for 16 years, including 12 years when he was Denver’s district attorney. She was his scheduler during the 2006 campaign and handled a variety of duties in the governor’s office.
Many people knew to call Aston if they couldn’t get to Ritter or his staff.
“Bill is very much a people person, and if someone couldn’t get in touch with him, he wanted them to get in touch with his staff,” she said. “He doesn’t like voice mail. He wants a connection.”
“Flossy is brilliant, and a consummate professional,” Ritter said in a statement. “She is the kind of person who does public service with some sacrifice to herself, and does it happily for the greater good. She was the best executive assistant I had ever seen.”
Aston met Ritter in 1980, when he was an intern at the district attorney’s office. “I used to type up his legal briefs,” she recalled.
Aston left the district attorney’s office and worked for an oil company for 12 years. In 1992, she ran into Ritter at a birthday party for a mutual friend. It was about the same time Gov. Roy Romer was appointing a replacement for outgoing DA Norm Early.
“Bill gave me a hug and told me to start practicing saying, ‘Denver District Attorney’s Office,’” Aston recalled. “He thought he had a good chance of getting the appointment, and he wanted me to work for him.”
Aston said working in the governor’s office was a great opportunity, but very stressful because she worried about making a mistake that would hurt Ritter’s reputation.
Even though she was among the members of Ritter’s staff who witnessed the fatal shooting of a 32-year-old man who had threatened the governor on July 16, 2007, she says the hardest part of her job was reading and hearing criticism of Ritter.
“It was painful when, after so many years working for Bill, he was getting beaten up all the time,” Aston said. “You have to be diplomatic and kind to people. But the older I get, the less patience I have. I realized it was time to go.”