WALSENBURG- Don Saling, who has been the interim Walsenburg City Administrator since September 20, 2010, gave the City one week’s notice last Friday, after Mayor Bruce Quintana publicly questioned Saling’s and City Treasurer Dave Johnston’s handling of finances.
At last week’s City Council meeting, Quintana brought up a meeting that took place last December, about how to deal with an anticipated $2 million shortfall in the City’s coffers. Saling and Johnston believed they were waiting for further guidence from the council, and Quintana thought that administration was working on a plan to present to the council. When Saling told the council he did not know he was supposed to be developing a plan on his own, Quintana was allegedly heard to utter, “Liar.”
Saling’s departure leaves the City in a precarious state at a delicate time with several projects needing guidance. Saling expressed full confidence that the Assistant City Administrator Beth Neece would be able to continue the work until the Council names a permanent replacement.
Saling said his main goal when taking the job was to help save the City financially, and he feels he and Treasurer Johnston have made great strides in doing so. “I love this business,” Saling said. “What you do directly impacts the quality of life of Walsenburg residents. This is a great community.”
Saling went on to praise Walsenburg’s employees: “It’s amazing what is accomplished here with the small number of employees- they do a great job. From the Admin side, we’ve done a good job.”
Saling has been working concurrently with the Department of Homeland Security, and so will take his time before looking for a second administrative job.
Mayor Quintana said that the City Council had been “working towards a solution to the problem with Saling”, but that Saling told them he simply was ready to leave.
“Walsenburg will be moving feverishly to find a replacement for a full-time position. Then we’ll bring the next administrator up to speed as soon as possible,” Quintana said.
Saling replaced Alan Hein, who also resigned under pressure from Mayor Quintana. Hein was administrator for Walsenburg for 17 months.
Prior to Hein, City Administrator Eric Pearson lasted two years before resigning abruptly to take a job in North Carolina.
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