On Jan. 1 the town of Chesterton will have its first new Clerk-Treasurer in
a quarter of a century.
At a caucus Monday night, eight Republican Party precinct committeemen
elected Stephanie Kuziela to the position, opened by the
retirement--effective Dec. 31--of long-serving Clerk-Treasurer Gayle
In keeping with the Porter County GOP’s “long-standing tradition,” as Chair
Michael Simpson put it, only the winner was announced, not the vote count.
Kuziela--who for the last four years has served as Chesterton Town Manager
Bernie Doyle’s administrative assistant--beat out two other hopefuls,
Chesterton Stormwater Management Board President Thomas Kopko and
Westchester Township Board Member Suzette Huyser.
Kuziela has a B.S. degree from Purdue University in organizational
leadership and supervision and is currently completing a second in business
administration. Since 2011 she has served as budget assistant to Polakowski.
“I appreciate Gayle (Polakowski’s) taking me under her wing,” Kuziela told
the Chesterton Tribune after the vote. “Her work for the past 25
years has been inspiring and she’s been a strong and capable leader. I am
confident that I will be able to continue her legacy of excellence and make
her proud. And I look forward to the privilege of serving the Chesterton
residents as their Clerk-Treasurer.”
Polakowski’s staff, Kuziela added, “are full of knowledge, experience, and
ideas, and I’m eager to work with them to increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office.”
Kuziela said that future projects for the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office include
revamping the business registration form, streamlining the accounts-payable
process, and digitizing municipal records.
Eight precinct committeemen voted on Monday, of the 10 eligible: Jeff Trout
(Westchester 3); Jonathan Miller (W-4); John Evans (W-8); Barbara Stroud
(W-10); Nick Walding (W-12); Judith Tyler (W-14); Michael Raffin (Liberty
1); and Tim Cole (L-5). Two precinct committeemen were sick. Two other
precinct committee seats are vacant.
Each candidate gave a three-minute presentation. The precinct committeemen
then voted. Votes were counted by Simpson, Sundae Schoon of Porter County
Voter Registration, and Chesterton Town Council Member Sharon Darnell,
D-4th. There was no need for a re-vote.
Schoon promptly administered the oath of office to Kuziela, whose term
formally begins on Jan. 1.