January 2, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Maria Guerra Lapacek to be New Commissioner of The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

Guerra to Bring Years of Government Experience and Focus on Government Efficiency to BACP; Krimbel Asked to Lead New Effort to Modernize and Streamline City Code

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today appointed Maria Guerra Lapacek to be the new commissioner of the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and will submit her name this month for City Council approval. Guerra has experience throughout City government with a particular focus on enhancing government efficiency and improving responsiveness to community, business and local elected officials.

“Maria has been an integral part of the team that established the City of Chicago’s Small Business Center, passed our landmark licensing reform ordinance that slashed the number of business license categories by 60 percent, and spearheaded a series of consumer protection ordinances taking on fraudulent tax preparation services and reducing the proliferation of predatory lenders,” said Mayor Emanuel, “As BACP Commissioner, Maria will fight relentlessly to protect residents and consumers, and continue to implement my vision for the department to serve as a concierge to Chicago’s small businesses.”

Guerra Lapacek presently serves as the First Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs for the Mayor’s office, where she organizes city council meetings, solicits input from aldermanic, business and community groups, and helps draft legislation on a range of issues. In this role, Guerra Lapacek served as a key strategist behind the Mayor’s 2012 licensing reform ordinance, the establishment of the Small Business Center in the Mayor’s 2013 Budget, the 2011 taxi reform ordinance, and a number of consumer protection ordinances passed during the first two and half years of the Emanuel Administration. She previously served as a Deputy Chief Financial Officer and in the Office of Management and Budget as a Deputy Budget Director, where she managed efforts to consolidate departments to save taxpayer dollars and implemented performance management measures for the City’s human infrastructure departments.

“I am grateful to Mayor Emanuel for the opportunity to take on this new challenge of improving the business and regulatory environment in Chicago so that more businesses open and grow in our great city,” said Guerra Lapacek. “My parents were once small business owners, so I am excited to continue the Mayor’s push to make City Hall as open and accessible as possible to the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Guerra Lapacek received her law degree and MBA from DePaul University, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock. She began her career in the broadcasting business, having worked for Telemundo in Chicago and San Jose, CA.

Current BACP Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel has been asked by the Mayor to launch a new effort to modernize the city code. The new role will perform broad, multi-departmental reviews of the city code and propose modernization efforts that streamline governmental processes, reduce confusion to the public, and save taxpayer dollars.

“Rosemary’s wide range of skills and experiences make her a perfect selection for this new initiative,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We will do a long-overdue sweep of the City code to eliminate outdated rules and streamline it for residents and businesses, allowing them to interact with city government efficiently and effectively.”

Krimbel was selected by the Mayor for this new effort because of her significant experience in this area, having already successfully managed the modernization and streamlining of city taxi laws, the small business ordinance, and the cable franchising agreement. She is also a former business owner, attorney and regulator. Under her leadership at BACP, these three areas were updated to remove obsolete language and add incentives to make City Hall more customer-friendly. The results have been telling -- taxi reform moved the fleet from 9 percent to 74 percent efficient vehicles in just one year, and Business Licensing Reform made adding business activities and emerging business models easier as we reduced the number of licenses by 60 percent. In this new effort, Krimbel will continue to be focused on reducing bureaucracy, saving taxpayer resources, and ensuring fair and consistent enforcement for Chicago residents and businesses.

Guerra’s appointment is subject to City Council approval. She and Krimbel will both begin serving in their new roles later in January.

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