County Governance


President of the County Board

The President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in addition to presiding at county board meetings, is responsible for the administration of county government except for the responsibilities held by the other independently elected county officials (Assessor, Board of Review Commissioners, County Clerk, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Recorder of Deeds, Sheriff, States Attorney and Treasurer).

Under the office of the President, six county bureaus containing 35 departments, as well as 6 independent offices report directly to the President. With the consent of the Cook County Board, the President appoints the Bureau Chiefs and heads of the county departments under the President and falling under the Board’s jurisdiction.


Board of Commissioners

The Cook County Board of Commissioners is the governing policy board and legislative body of the county made up of 17 Commissioners elected by districts. The Rules of the Board are approved at the beginning of each four-year term the Board members are elected to serve.

The Board has authority over and final approval of the County’s fiscal year budget and appropriations. The County Board’s oversight of each county office’s budgeted dollars is done through in its Finance Committee where all county proposed contracts and expenditures over $25,000 are discussed and considered for the Board’s approval.


Other Elected Officials of the County

Assessor, Board of Review Commissioners (3), County Clerk, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Recorder of Deeds, Sheriff, States Attorney and Treasurer comprise the elected officials in the County, outside of the Board of Commissioners.

About half of the County’s employees are employed by the independently elected county officials or by agencies reporting to the court system. Many functions and services of county government are performed by these elected county officials, over whom the county board has no control except in the passage of their budgets and approval of bond issues, contracts, and special large expenditures.


Meetings of the Board

The Board of Commissioners conducts its business at regularly held bi-monthly Board meetings as well as through its standing legislative committees and subcommittee. These committees meet at the discretion and call of the committee’s and subcommittee’s respective Chairman.

The Board’s Finance, Roads and Bridges, and Zoning & Building Committees are “committees of the whole” and conduct business at regularly held bi-monthly meetings that coincide with the County Board meetings.

Special meetings of the board may be called by the President or by one-third of the board members.

All records on final actions of the Cook County Board are housed with the Clerk of the Board. All records of items referred by the Board to its legislative committees or subcommittees are held by the Secretary to the Board. Any notice or report of a Committee’s action to be considered or taken on items in committee is prepared by the Secretary to the Board’s Office and are available for your review with the Secretary’s Office.


Commissioner Districts

On September 21, 1993, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a districting map that created 17 single-member districts from which the seventeen members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners are elected. The map, held by the Clerk of the Board, was the result of a referendum, approved by the voters of Cook County on November 6, 1990. The referendum eliminated the previous at-large elections that consisted of 10 Commissioners elected from the City of Chicago and 7 from the suburban areas of Cook County.

On March 1, 1994, the Board approved by Ordinance (No. 94-0-18) the methods, procedures and guidelines to govern the single-member districts and the election of Commissioners from such districts in Cook County.

On November 4, 1994, the seventeen Commissioners of the Cook County Board were elected for the first time from each of the 17 Cook County electoral districts and are now directly responsible to the constituents within their individual districts

The County Board is required by law to redistrict after each decennial census to insure that the 17 County Commissioner Districts are of equal population according to the census data from the U.S. Census.