Durango’s utilities director resigns abruptly

Steve Salka cites disagreement with city manager

City Utilities Director Steve Salka resigned from his post on Thursday, effective immediately. He cited a disagreement with City Manager Ron LeBlanc as the reason for leaving his position.

Salka oversaw city water and waste water operations and was heavily involved in the planning of a $54 million sewage treatment plant project in Santa Rita Park.

“I am sad because I really wanted to finish this project,” he said.

LeBlanc asked City Engineer Gregg Boysen to direct the sewage treatment plant project, which was partly why Salka decided to leave, Salka said.

Boysen was designated as project manager several weeks ago, LeBlanc said in an email.

“Steve was part of the project team. The project manager was designated as the point person with the contractor for this project. All things related to the project are to be channeled through the project manager,” he said.

Salka also said that LeBlanc had turned into a bully.

“The city manager made it impossible for me to work for him anymore,” Salka said.

Salka said he plans to write a letter to Durango City Council about his concerns.

Director of City Operations Levi Lloyd will serve as acting director of utilities, LeBlanc said. He did not expect the construction of the sewage treatment plant to be disrupted by Salka’s departure.

Utilities Commission Chairman John Ballew said he was not aware of Salka’s departure and nothing came up at the recent commission meeting to suggest it.

“As far as going out and making things happen, Steve’s been good, been great,” he said.

Salka told The Durango Herald about his resignation Friday after he was contacted about the timing of demolition at the sewage treatment plant.

Salka was hired by the city in 2012. He is a former naval commander.

mshinn@durangoherald.com

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