Secretary of state aide named to No. 2 Oakland Co. job

Alex Nester
The Detroit News
Hilarie Chambers

Hilarie Chambers, the chief of staff for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was named chief deputy county executive for Oakland County on Tuesday. When she takes office on Aug. 29, Chambers will be the county's first woman to fill that role.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter named Chambers to the post a day after being appointed to the county's top elected office by the Board of Commissioners.

“Hilarie has the experience, relationships and skills to help continue the county’s momentum of strong management,” Coulter said in a statement. “She knows how to bring levels of government together to best serve residents."

Chambers has mostly lived in Oakland County since moving to Michigan from Ohio in 1990, splitting time between the county and Washington, D.C., from 1996 to 2017 while working for former U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak.

"I'm really looking forward to working again in the communities that I know," Chambers said in a phone interview. "This is an opportunity to sink my teeth into county government projects, and I'm really looking forward to that localized role." 

Chambers worked as chief of staff for Levin for two and a half decades. She also served for a time as the executive director of Reading Works, a nonprofit in Detroit that focuses on adult literacy.

Coulter must replace three longtime officials who retired on Monday, including Gerald Poisson, acting county executive, and deputy executives Laurie Van Pelt and Robert Daddow, all longtime aides to former county executive L. Brooks Patterson, who died Aug. 3.

"To respect the work of Patterson, it's important to have this transition go smoothly," Chambers said.