by Larry Patrick
WALSENBURG- The interim city administrator for Walsenburg the past six months has decided not to consider the full time position. Don Saling of Pueblo West has served in that capacity since Alan Hein stepped down due to health and other concerns last year.
Saling made his feelings known at the end of the Parks and Recreation meeting on Monday night. Saling has been working part-time for the city of Walsenburg while also holding down his Homeland Security job for this region.
Asked by the Huerfano World Journal his main reasons for not wanting to consider the City Administrators job full time, Saling cited…
politics, the number of hours, where he is currently with his career and the impact that the tragedy in Japan has had on him in evaluating his job at Homeland Security. He feels there is a lot that needs to be done in that job that he can have a very positive impact to protect people throughout this region.
The 61 year old Saling said he started out working 20 hours a week but has seen that creep up to over 30 hours. He feels that Walsenburg needs and deserves someone who can devote 40-60 hours per week to moving the city forward. He has agreed to stay on until city council can hire a full time administrator, which has taken 3-4 months in the past.
The stumbling block to meeting that time schedule could be the attitude of the current city council and mayor with regards to Ordinance 967. The past city council (this reporter was a member) drafted that ordinance to provide professional management of the city of Walsenburg while the city council sets policy. The administrator is then responsible to carry out the day to day operations of running a city, which is what they are trained to do. However, some on the current city council have voiced a desire to have city council not only set policy but also dictate day to day operations while weakening the authority of a city administrator to handle his employees and duties. In advertising for a city administrator, Saling needs to know whether Ordinance 967 will detail the duties for applicants or whether the city council decides to change it first before advertising. If so, that takes time.
Saling has praise for the job that assistant administator Beth Neece and finance director Dave Johnston are doing. He hates leaving them as part of the administrative team. “I’ve enjoyed my experience with the city of Walsenburg and will continue giving 110% until the city council can find a full time replacement,” said Saling.
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