Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced the appointment of Brian Hamer as her new Chief of Staff effective March 23.
Hamer brings to the County extensive public sector experience. Most recently, he served 12 years as Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, from 2003-15, making him the longest-serving Revenue Director in Illinois history.
“I am grateful that Brian has agreed to join our team,” Preckwinkle said. “His substantial management experience, his thorough understanding of finance, his passion for public service, and his collaborative approach will fit well with our administration’s approach to governing.”
“I am pleased to join the Preckwinkle administration and have the opportunity to contribute to the continuing transformation of Cook County government,” Hamer said. “Public service is all about helping people, and President Preckwinkle’s emphasis on public health, public safety and criminal justice reform, and economic development are the kinds of policy priorities which do exactly that.”
As Director of the Department of Revenue, Hamer led the 1,800-person agency which is responsible for the collection and distribution of $40 billion of taxes each year on behalf of the state, local governments and school districts.
Under Hamer’s leadership, the Department increased collection of delinquent taxes to all-time highs, adopted new technology that transformed the way the Department conducts business, and implemented numerous initiatives to improve customer service. He also worked to reform the state’s tax code and increase tax fairness.
During his tenure as Director, he was named one of the nation’s top 10 tax administrators by the trade publication State Tax Notes.
Prior to joining the state Revenue Department, Hamer served from 1990 to 1997 as a Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Department of Law at the City of Chicago where he headed the Tax Division. From 1998 to 2003 he served as the First Deputy in the Chicago Department of Revenue.
Earlier in his career, Hamer practiced law at two major Chicago law firms and worked at the Cook County Board of Tax Appeals.
Hamer attended Yale University, where he graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in history, and earned a law degree in 1982 from Columbia University Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.
Hamer lives in Chicago with his wife. The couple has two grown children.