Macomb County Deputy Executive Al Lorenzo is stepping aside from Mark Hackel’s administration after steering the executive’s office through some of the stickiest confrontations with the Board of Commissioners over the past eight years.
The former longtime Macomb Community College president, Lorenzo will continue to serve in a part-time, transitional role to help shape policy and to preserve the “institutional memory” of the county’s many twists and turns after voters approved a transformational Macomb government charter and then elected Hackel as their first county executive in 2010.
He will be succeeded by John Paul Rea, a rising star within county government for nearly a decade.
Lorenzo’s gradual departure had been anticipated for months after he originally signed on to serve in Hackel’s office for four years but stayed for a second, 4-year term. Hackel, a Democrat, was re-elected in November by an overwhelming margin.
Lorenzo, 75, served as president of MCC for nearly 30 years, from 1979 to 2008. When he took the job as Hackel’s top assistant he had been working as an executive for Oakland University.
Lorenzo praised Hackel’s appointment of Rea as “an outstanding choice.” Rea, 35, has served as director of the county Planning and Economic Development Department (PED) for nearly four years.
In a press release, Hackel said Rea, known as “J.P” within the halls of Macomb County government, will serve as the deputy county executive who oversees the departments of PED, Roads, Health and Community Services, and Veterans Services, plus workforce development initiatives.
“JP has proven his ability to affect transformative change,” Hackel said. “I know he will be instrumental in helping me implement some strategic plans I have for improving countywide operations.”
Rea briefly served as a deputy county executive in 2015 after one of Hackel’s initial appointees, Melissa Roy, departed. Rea has been employed by the county since he interned as a graduate student of Grand Valley State University more than 11 years ago.
A lifelong resident of Macomb County, Rea represents the county on the boards of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) bus system, the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) parks system, and the high-tech advocacy group known as Automation Alley. Rea also serves on numerous committees within the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I am incredibly humbled and grateful for this opportunity to continue to make Macomb County the best place to call home,” Rea said. “With the support of County Executive Hackel and the people I work with each day, I look forward to expanded opportunities to connect with residents and businesses and to be an ambassador for all the exciting things happening here.”
The promotion of Rea marks the second significant change within the Hackel administration over the past two months. In November, Hackel named Vicki Wolber, the former county director of emergency management, as a deputy executive to replace Kathy Bartz, who resigned in February 2018.