The domineering leader of Colorado’s emergency responses has history of tirades, F-bombs and intimidation | SummitDaily.com
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The domineering leader of Colorado’s emergency responses has history of tirades, F-bombs and intimidation

Mike Willis has been suspended twice in last 18 months for berating his employees

Sam Tabachnik
The Denver Post
Mike Willis, director of Colorado’s Office of Emergency Management, stands to the left of Gov. Jared Polis during a coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol on March 11, 2020, the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Willis has displayed a pattern of aggressive behavior and unprofessional conduct, according to interviews with current and former colleagues and a review of internal state investigations into his conduct.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

DENVER — During his five years at the helm of Colorado’s responses to natural and public health disasters, Mike Willis has displayed a pattern of aggressive behavior and inappropriate, unprofessional conduct, according to interviews with 23 current and former colleagues, state and federal government officials, National Guard service members and a review of internal state investigations into his conduct.

Willis has been suspended twice over the past 18 months for behavior that included berating female staffers, throwing objects in rage and intimidating workers to the point they thought it was close to getting physical. The most recent suspension included a warning that Willis likely would be fired “for any similar misconduct” in the future.

More than once, Willis has been drunk after-hours at industry conferences and nearly fought other attendees, multiple witnesses told The Denver Post.



A state employee in 2019 notified human resources that they believed Willis was intoxicated in the state’s Emergency Operations Center during the response to the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch — an allegation reported at the time to Willis’ supervisor Kevin Klein, the head of Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

But the state didn’t investigate the allegation in 2019. Klein only launched an inquiry this month after The Denver Post began asking for records and conducting interviews. (Willis denied being inebriated that day and Klein concluded that the allegations were not sustained.)



Read more on DeverPost.com.


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