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July 20, 2011 01:19 AM UTC

Alston vs. Dreyer: Whose Shop is Whose?

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  • by: Colorado Pols

As we wrote about yesterday, the placement of Hancock campaign manager Evan Dreyer in the Hancock administration has been less than expedient. From what we’ve heard Dreyer is expected to join the team in some capacity, but what role he’ll play specifically is as yet to be defined.

One of the more interesting reasons we’ve heard for the hesitation surrounding Dreyer has to do with newly employed communications director Wil Alston.  Alston, who you may remember ran a solid race for the vacancy in Council District 8, has never run his own communications shop before. That’s not to say he isn’t experienced or very capable at what he does, but he has pointedly never been in charge of all aspects of a communication strategy. We have little doubt that Alston will be able to handle the job craftily, even if there are a few awkward moments between his office and that of newly-elected District 8 Councilman Albus Brooks.

The issue at hand, then, is not that Alston won’t be capable as communications director. It’s that Dreyer may not be able to let him. Alston was Dreyer’s deputy under Governor Bill Ritter, and anybody who worked with Evan in that period knows that he runs a very tight ship. As Ritter’s spokesman, Dreyer did a remarkable job of making sure that all communications filtered through him. It wasn’t necessarily a bottleneck, but it was clear that Dreyer ran the communications shop and that any related decisions belonged to him. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; some offices thrive without decision by committee.

The issue at hand now, however, is that some of those close to Hancock are worried that bringing Dreyer onboard in a leadership role may cripple the ability of Wil Alston to do his job properly. After all, if Dreyer is in any position where he can direct what Wil Alston does, what’s to stop him from commandeering the communications office altogether? Because Alston has never run his own shop before and because Dreyer’s management style features him as a figurehead, some insiders are worried that the two won’t be able to jive. Alston and Dreyer get along well, but there are those who question the dynamic of the entire senior staff if the two are put in positions to counteract each other.

There’s a reason Evan Dreyer didn’t take, or wasn’t offered, the communications job in Denver’s newest Mayoral administration. He may not have any job with Hancock until it’s clearly defined what he can and cannot control, for the primary benefit of Wil Alston.  

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