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

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.

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