CITY HALL — One of the mayor's top lieutenants is turning her attention from streamlining business regulations to the entire city code.
The Mayor's Office announced Thursday that Rosemary Krimbel was leaving her post as head of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to lead efforts to modernize the city code across the board. Krimbel was expected to "streamline governmental processes, reduce confusion to the public and save taxpayer dollars," much as she had as business commissioner.
"Rosemary’s wide range of skills and experiences make her a perfect selection for this new initiative," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "We will do a long-overdue sweep of the city code to eliminate outdated rules and streamline it for residents and businesses, allowing them to interact with city government efficiently and effectively."
Emanuel immediately named Maria Guerra Lapacek to replace Krimbel as commissioner of Business Affairs. Guerra Lapacek, who currently serves as first deputy director of the Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs for the Mayor’s Office, was the administration point person on many of those same reforms Krimbel implemented.
"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,” Emanuel said. “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."
Krimbel was credited with "the modernization and streamlining of city taxi laws, the small-business ordinance and the cable franchising agreement," and she also oversaw the introduction of the new food-truck ordinance. Most recently, she defended an increase in the city's cigarette tax, even though that increase was cut by a third in the final 2014 budget.
During budget hearings in October, Krimbel trumpeted a dramatic increase in fuel-efficient taxis, from 9 percent to 74 percent of the entire fleet in just one year. She also moved to reduce the number of business licenses by 60 percent.
According to mayoral spokesman Tom Alexander, Krimbel excelled at removing obsolete language in regulations and adding incentives to make City Hall more “customer friendly," initiatives she's now expected to carry on to reform the entire city code.
Emanuel appointed Krimbel as head of Business Affairs upon his inauguration in 2011 after she had previously served as the department's general counsel.