ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Board member Jas Bilich has submitted his resignation from the board, a move that coincides with his new job as a county employee.
Bilich, R-20, tendered his resignation Monday.
Tuesday was his first day on the job as special project coordinator, a new post created in the county’s Regional Planning and Economic Development Department.
Bilich called the job an “exciting new opportunity” and said his background in construction and business makes him a good fit.
Bilich’s business background includes being a three-year co-owner of Dough Bros., a pizzeria at 4415 Harrison Ave., a venture that he and his business partner sold two year ago. He also served as general manager and bar tender at Murphy’s Pub and Grill, a Bilich family-owned establishment in Rockford.
His construction background includes owner and operator of Bosly Construction LLC and a laborer and foreman for Bos and Son Masonry.
Chris Dornbush, who heads the department as director of development services, said Bilich will be working on several economic development initiatives with the Region 1 Planning Council.
“We do zoning, building and economic development,” Dornbush said. “So, it’s very useful to have someone who is well versed in the construction industry and the terminology, as well as zoning and building.
“There’s a solid waste management plan, water infrastructure plan, blight initiative plan and regional economic growth. He’s going to be working on those kind of high-level things as well as assisting with other projects.”
Bilich was one of two people to apply for the job.
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Prior to joining the county board, Bilich served on the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
After being elected to the county board, he became a member of the board’s Economic Development Committee and has chaired the committee since July of 2019.
Spurred by $54.8 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan, the county board has made economic development a priority.
Dornbush said the county is also trying to expand the economic development department’s staff.
In 2007, the department boasted 24 employees. The department is now budgeted for 10 employees but due to cuts and COVID-related matters, Dornbush said at times as few as nine people have staffed the department.
“The chairman is trying to build up our office a little bit more so that we can offer better and expanded services,” he said.
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Bilich, who succeed Ted Biondo, has represented residents in the 20th district for the past three years. He defeated fellow republicans Dan Gray and Doug McPherson in the 2018 March primary and Democrat David Soll in the November election.
Bilich’s term is set to expire in November.
Since Bilich is a Republican, the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee will be tasked with recommending someone for appointment to finish out Bilich’s term.