GRIFFITH | A Town Council member is trading his seat for the clerk-treasurer's chair.
A Lake County Republican caucus Monday night resulted in a 6-0 vote to elect Griffith Town Councilman George Jerome as the town's new clerk-treasurer.
The caucus was solemn because of its duty to replace the town's previous clerk-treasurer, Bill Broderick, who died suddenly after just a few meetings on the job.
The vote was by secret ballot, which is required by law even though there was just one candidate, said George Janiec, vice chairman of the Lake County Republican Party. Janiec conducted the meeting.
Jerome, R-2nd, will attend his final meeting as a councilman Tuesday night and plans to resign from that seat Wednesday.
Jerome expressed sorrow about Broderick.
"We mourn Bill's passing, but the duties of clerk-treasurer remain an essential responsibility of town government," he said.
"It's unfortunate that the vacancy exists," Jerome said before the vote. He noted he has a bachelor's of science degree in general management and experience in accounting and economics.
The vote was taken by Jerome and five other Griffith precinct committee members: Robert Bubala, Rich Muha, Ro Ann Purgert, Jon Terpstra and Thomas Wichlinski.
Jerome also said he will have to decide, in four years, whether to run for re-election as clerk-treasurer or run again for Town Council.
Janiec said the Town Council seat will be declared open officially by Lake County Clerk Mike Brown in a couple of days once Jerome resigns.
Another GOP caucus will take place within 30 days to elect a new council member, Janiec said. The process will be similar to the meeting Monday night, he said.
Once set, candidates will have 72 hours prior to the caucus to apply.
"They must live in Griffith's 2nd Ward in order to be qualified," Jerome said.
Griffith Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd, said Broderick already was providing leadership during a time of financial uncertainty.
"Now we are looking to George to guide that office," Ryfa said. "He will be missed at the council level."
The meeting began with a moment of silence for Broderick and for American military personnel.