by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG– As of Mon. Aug. 9, Alan Hein is no longer working for the city of Walsenburg as City Administrator. He resigned because of health issues he has been dealing with over the past several months. The City Council accepted Hein’s resignation on a 6-0 vote during a special meeting on Mon. Aug. 9.
Hein started work as Walsenburg’s City Administrator in April of 2009 and quickly found himself plugging holes. The first issue that came up was the rupture of a natural gas transmission pipeline south of Aguilar just before the Memorial Day weekend. A flash flood in the area broke the pipeline and cut service to both Walsenburg and Aguilar.
More recently, the city had to undergo layoffs to salvage the 2010 budget. As a result, several former and current city employees have been actively criticizing Hein’s leadership.
Hein was faced with restructuring the city’s work force when the 2010 budget showed a shortfall of nearly a half million dollars. After the first round of layoffs, the city was once again faced with a shortfall generated by the prison closing. This initiated a second round of layoffs which led to more criticism of the city’s administration.
However with the layoffs and restructuring of the city’s workforce, the 2010 budget was salvaged and the city has been able to put together funds to build the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) and lay new water lines in the Northlands. Both projects were monitored by Hein who made many trips to Denver to work out details with the state’s engineer.
The city has currently undergone an extensive audit of its books while working to satisfy state mandates concerning the sewer line project needed in the Northlands and the WWTF. Both are necessary to avoid fines that could be levied by the state and could run as high as $10,000 a day. Walsenburg has delayed the projects for several years. The sewer line and WWTF moved to the front burner after the Northlands was annexed in 2008. The annexation was necessary to allow the city to step in and carry out the projects.
Another project the city has been working on is road work for the new grocery market being built on North Walsen between Pine and Maple. Hein had been working with CDOT on plans to build a left turn lane from Walsen into the new market’s parking area. The plans for that project are waiting approval by CDOT.
The city is now operating without an administrator or a finance director. Assistant City Administrator Beth Neece will handle the daily business of the city until an interim administrator can be found.
Hein could not be reached for comment.