Wil Alston, ex-Denver communications director, takes finance gig created by Michael Hancock

Categories: News, Politics

wil alston 140 pixels.jpg
Wil Alston.
After six months at the head of Mayor Michael Hancock's communications staff, Wil Alston began a new position yesterday leading the same function for Denver's finance department. Hancock created the position specifically for Alston, who joined his administration in July 2011 and has long been a friend. In the interim, Hancock's press secretary, Amber Miller, will handle Alston's old duties as senior staff searches for a replacement.

Miller says the mayor's staff hopes to fill the position as soon as possible.

In a statement provided by Miller, Janice Sinden, Hancock's chief of staff, notes, "We greatly appreciate Wil's work in the Mayor's Office, particularly at the start of the new administration and during our first six months in office, and believe he will make a great addition to the finance team. The mayor and deputy mayor agree it's critical to have clear communication and thoughtful citizen engagement in order to fiscally move the city forward, and we are grateful to have such an effective communicator help lead this public discourse."

In the past few years, Alston has made his mark on the local political scene in many ways. From 2007 to 2009, he served as deputy director of communications for Governor Bill Ritter, and in later 2009, he became executive director of the Five Points Business District prior to joining Hancock's staff. He also made a 2011 run to become District 8's city council representative, eventually losing to Albus Brooks.

His most recent move came at his own request after he asked for a change in position.

His new position comes with a $15,000 pay cut, down to $85,000 from his previous $100,000 salary. Alston is the first to hold it: Before yesterday, the finance department did not maintain a permanent communications rep.

In the coming months, Alston will be working on the most recent recommendations from the city's financial task force, delivered yesterday in hopes of setting straight a budget that is approximately $30 million off course.

More from our Politics archive: "Scott Gessler not at fault for flaws in spending report, Secretary of State's office says."

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Is this a career service position or a political appointee position?  If it is career service, then there needed to be a competitive process for the position to be filled.  There are many bad examples of Mayoral cronies worming themselves into life-long career service jobs primarily because they couldn't get hired anywhere else.

Bob Smith
Bob Smith

Hancock creates a new $85k/yr job and gives it to his good buddy, and we're supposed to feel good because he took a $15k cut, while that same good buddy is telling us why we have to pay for trash pick-up?

I'm not sure which is more cynical, this bit of cronyism or the year plus of $70 fines for creeping into a crosswalk.

Where did Hancock go for that bit of on-the-job leadership training he needed after getting elected? The Boss Daley School of Politics?

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

If Hancock offered me $100,000, I might gabble the nonsense Alston did last August:  "We think the ability to raise Denver's profile is going to be driven by the ability to raise Hancock's profile", but the words would turn to ashes in my mouth.  Based on that statement, I am sure that Alston will do or say anything for his boss, though his new position is a sinecure -- $85,000 should still buy a lot of toady.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

"Hancock created the position specifically for Alston ..." -- I presume that it is outside of the civil service.

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