President Preckwinkle Appoints New Executive Director for County’s Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today the appointment of Theodore “Ted” Berger as executive director of the County’s Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS).

Berger returns to EMRS, where he was chief deputy director from 2017 – 2021, serving as deputy incident commander for the County’s COVID-19 unified command response directly managing emergency operations center activation with over 200 personnel. During his tenure with EMRS, Berger also served a nine-month assignment as interim deputy chief of staff to President Preckwinkle, providing intergovernmental and operational coordination between six bureaus and 34 departments.

“Ted has tremendous experience in emergency management and administration within Cook County Government and other agencies across the state,” President Preckwinkle said. “I am thrilled to welcome him back to EMRS in this new role and confident that he will uphold EMRS’ mission to ensure our residents’ safety.”

Most recently he served as deputy chief of staff at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office where he supported daily operations and provided project management leadership, helping to oversee the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country.

Prior to entering Cook County Government, Berger served four years as the chief of staff for the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. He has also worked as chief of staff for the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal as well as positions with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Illinois Department of Transportation and Office of the Governor. Outside of his full-time employment, Berger has served as a part-time firefighter, previously holding the rank of deputy chief with the North Park Fire Protection District in Machesney Park, Illinois He has also served as a volunteer associate staff member for the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance.

“I am thrilled to return to lead this critical department,” Berger said. “I look forward to utilizing my policy, administrative and emergency management experience to help ensure the safety and security of residents across Cook County once more.”

Berger holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Speech Communication from Bradley University.

Berger resides in LaGrange, Illinois with his wife and two children.

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