Cook County Director of Planning and Development Michael Jasso Named New Economic Development Bureau Chief

Current Cook County Bureau of Economic Development Chief Herman Brewer to Serve as Interim Director of Cook County Land Bank Authority

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today that Bureau of Economic Development Chief Herman Brewer is leaving the County and will join the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) as Interim Executive Director while the Land Bank searches for a permanent replacement. Preckwinkle named Michael Jasso, currently the County’s Director of Planning and Development, as her new Bureau Chief of Economic Development, pending approval by the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

“Before I came into office in December 2010, the County’s economic development efforts were spread among disparate departments and agencies, with little coordination between them. That’s why one of my first actions was to create a Bureau of Economic Development and why I appointed Herman to lead that effort. For more than three years Herman has worked diligently to turn our Bureau of Economic Development into an effective and efficient wing of county government. I’m grateful to Herman for his service, and for agreeing to step in and serve as Interim Executive Director for one of our most critical initiatives, the Cook County Land Bank Authority,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Brewer was appointed Bureau Chief of the newly created Bureau of Economic Development in December 2011. In that position, he was responsible for the oversight of five County departments including Real Estate, Planning & Development, Building & Zoning, Facilities Management, Capital Planning and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Under his leadership, the County implemented new financial tools and incentives to facilitate new construction, rehabilitation and the expansion of businesses; coordinated, targeted and proactively applied for new federal resources to make significant impacts in local communities; and launched a new regional alliance comprised of the seven counties of Northeast Illinois and the City of Chicago.

“It’s been an honor to serve as the Bureau Chief of Economic Development. Over the past three years, we’ve made tremendous progress in expanding the County’s role as a driver of regional economic development. One of the most significant projects of my tenure was establishing the County’s Land Bank Authority in 2013. I’m looking forward to helping the Land Bank as it expands its efforts meet the needs of local communities by returning vacant and abandoned property to productive use,” Brewer said.

The Cook County Land Bank Authority was established in 2013 to combat community deterioration, create economic growth and stabilize the housing and job market by facilitating the return of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent property to productive use. The CCLBA is the County’s largest single purpose entity focused on spurring economic development by clearing obstacles to redevelopment and reuse and is governed by a board of 16 members who are appointed by the President and Commissioners of the Cook County Board. Brewer has served on the Board of Directors of the CCLBA since its establishment.

Jasso’s appointment as the County’s new Bureau Chief of Economic Development is expected to be introduced before the Cook County Board of Commissioners at the February Board Meeting. Jasso joined the County in August 2013 to oversee the County’s use of federal entitlement grants such as CDBG, HOME, NSP, etc. and administer the various tax incentives related to the promotion of economic development and investment. Prior to joining Cook County, Michael served as the Managing Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHED, now DPD) for the City of Chicago. He holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin where he was a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow.

“Michael is a talented administrator with a proven track record of success at both Cook County and at the City of Chicago. I look forward to working with him in my second term as we continue the progress that has been made in establishing Cook County as the key player in stimulating economic growth for our entire region,” Preckwinkle said.

“Having served with Mike Jasso at both the City of Chicago and observed his skill for creative and collaborative planning at Cook County, I commend President Preckwinkle for an inspired choice at a very exciting juncture for the County’s economic development opportunities. On behalf of the Board of the Cook County Land Bank, I would like to thank Herman for all the great work he has done at the County and as a founding board member for CCLBA. We appreciate his steady hand and the institutional knowledge he brings during our search for an Executive Director,” said Cook County Commissioner and CCLBA Chairman Bridget Gainer. The CCLBA expects to name a permanent Executive Director in March 2015.