executive director nominees

Jay Morein (left) and Molly Duplechian (right).

Two nominees have been named to fill the vacant executive director positions in Denver’s Department of Human Services and Department of Excise and Licenses, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Wednesday.

Jay Morein was tapped to lead Denver Human Services and Molly Duplechian is the nominee for the Department of Excise and Licenses. Both nominees must now be approved by the Denver City Council.

Morein, the current chief operating officer for Denver Human Services, would replace Don Mares. Mares, 64, is stepping down at the end of January to become interim president and chief executive officer of The Colorado Trust. He served as executive director for nearly seven years.

“When it comes to this chapter in the story of this department, I can think of no better leader than Jay to continue its critically important mission,” Hancock said. “His depth of expertise will be a tremendous asset not only to Denver Human Services as its executive director, but also to our entire community and to our neighbors who rely on the support the department provides.”

Morein began working with Denver Human Services in 1981 as a chief accountant before becoming a division director and later a deputy executive director. After leaving in 2008, he returned to the department in 2015 as chief of staff. He briefly retired in 2018 but came back again as chief operating officer in 2019.

Outside of Denver Human Services, Morein has served as office director for the Colorado Department of Human Services under John Hickenlooper and as director of finance and administration for the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services.

For excise and licenses, interim Executive Director Duplechian was nominated to take the helm full time. Duplechian has served as interim executive director of the department since Ashley Kilroy stepped down on Jan. 7 after more than five years in the position.

“Molly is a great example of how fortunate we are in the city to have a deep bench of talent and successful experience, ready to take on the challenges of executive leadership,” Hancock said. “She is more than prepared to continue the work at Excise and Licenses to support our economic recovery, improve the licensing process and create more equity in the marijuana marketplace."

Duplechian has worked with the city since 2007, spending the last four years as deputy director of policy and administration with the Department of Excise and Licenses. Duplechian joined the Office of Marijuana Policy in 2014, working closely with Kilroy to create the United States’ first legalized marijuana market.

Duplechian led an overhaul of Denver’s marijuana regulations last year, including the creation of marijuana delivery and transporter licenses for social equity applicants.

The Denver City Council is expected to vote on the two nominations in the coming weeks.

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