Hancock’s new appointees will tackle mental health and crime

Maybe Denverites didn’t have a real chance of changing the mayor in the last election with only one candidate with any real money in his campaign coffers. But Michael Hancock, now in his second term, has changed out a number of prominent staff positions – suggesting that what he was doing the first time around could be going a lot better.

Don Mares, whom Hancock brought on in January to lead the city’s Office of Behavioral Health Strategies, has been bumped up to head the Denver Department of Human Services. His old office will be brought under DHS and led by Regina Huerter, who worked as the Executive Director of the Denver Crime Prevention and Control Commission.

“Together, these appointments will build on the focused work that is underway at DHS and ensure our various efforts are aligned and strengthened in the complex fields of behavioral health, crime prevention and human services,” Hancock said in a statement. “These improvements are another demonstration of Denver’s commitment to maintaining a robust safety net and protecting the most vulnerable among us,” he said.

One job that has not been permanently filled is the Sheriff’s office, which has been held temporarily by Elias Diggins, whose career has been marred by a criminal record. He has had the distinction of overseeing the department when it has been found to be woefully mismanaged.

Diggins replaced his friend, former Sheriff Gary Wilson, whose tenure was defined by a long series of excessive force and misconduct cases that cost the city millions.

Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall, Creative Commons, Flickr