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Boulder County coroner resigns amid internal investigation into 'toxic work environment'

Employees claim coroner used other employee P Cards to make purchases on Amazon, pay for conferences
Boulder County Coroner Emma Hall
Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 22:03:58-05

BOULDER, Colo. — After 13 years in office, Boulder County Coroner Emma Hall announced her resignation Thursday amid an internal investigation into allegations of purchasing card abuse, sexual harassment and antagonistic behavior.

Staffers inside the Boulder County Coroner’s Office said the misconduct and mismanagement date back years.

“It’s a problem that she created and a toxic environment that she fed,” said a current staff member who spoke to Denver7 on the condition of anonymity. “[The environment] was uncomfortable. Just walking down the hallway was uncomfortable.”

The staffer believes the county mismanaged their concerns.

“I think they (county officials) had the mindset that because she was an elected official, they could only do so much,” said the employee.

Denver7 received documents detailing the internal investigation through an open records request. According to those records, Hall was "inappropriately concealing purchases" by using the county purchasing cards (P cards) of her employees for office purchases, conferences and "Amazon stuff."

“My experience with P Cards is when you get one, the first thing you learn is you don’t use anybody’s P card but yours. Nobody else uses yours ever,” said the employee.

Records also indicate Hall used multiple personas in the office, which concerned fellow employees. The documents state her employees were "unsure how to interact with Ms. Hall when she appears to take on a different persona."

Hall allegedly would wear rhinestone glasses and call herself "Crystal" when she was in the office, and then wear glasses that featured a skull when she was "Coroner Hall."

Since she took office in 2011, nearly 40 employees have come and gone, according to the employee.

“That’s a massive turnover,” the employee said. “Especially in a public office like this.”

Hall, who has been on leave since September, announced her resignation Thursday.

“This decision stems from my desire to dedicate more time to my family, a luxury I have not had," Hall said in a statement.

Deputy Coroner Jeff Martin has been leading the office since Hall's departure. The employee said they would like to see Martin remain in charge.

“I personally would like to see Chief Martin put in that position,” the employee said. “Morale hasn’t been higher, ever. It’s at an all-time high.”

Another employee issued a statement to Denver7, saying, “Chief Martin has made employees feel valued and respected. It’s an exciting time to know that we’ll be able to serve our community the way they deserve.”

Boulder County coroner resigns amid internal investigation into 'toxic work environment'

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