by Larry Patrick
HUERFANO- Alan Hein, former Walsenburg City Administrator passed away on Monday night at his home in Navajo Estates just west of the city. Hein was hired in April of 2009 to take over for Eric Pearson who had earlier resigned to take another city administrator’s job in North Carolina. He was hired for his infrastructure expertise, as he had served as a city administrator and public works director in a small Texas town for 24 years before coming to Walsenburg. He wanted to relocate to Colorado to be nearer to family members.
The waste water treatment plant, the Martin Valve project at Lathrop State Park, the raw water line issues west of Walsenburg and the sewer line project for the Northlands area of the city were major projects he was tackling. Before he could get some of those projects going, the City of Walsenburg began experiencing financial problems, which led to the first round of layoffs of city workers. Hein also saw the need for further layoffs in early 2010.
Hein was very strong on using the city work force for matching grants with in-kind labor. While this was not always popular, Hein said it created the necessary work to keep city crews busy and save lots of money on labor costs by not having to use outside sources. He had operated a city of similar size to Walsenburg with half the work force for many years. While he was troubled by having to lay-off workers, he felt that the city was able to continue operating efficiently.
As the Martin Valve project and the waste water treatment plant projects were underway, Hein was diagnosed with cancer in mid-2010. He cited interference in doing his job and his declining health for his decision to quit.
Hein was 62 years old, and survived by his wife and numerous family members. Services are pending.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward