CROWN POINT | The changing of the guard continues at the Lake County elections board.
Nicholas Gasparovic will retire later this month as assistant director and ranking Republican for the agency that oversees voter registration, balloting and vote tallying. He served in that management position eight years.
Patrick Gabrione, a veteran Schererville Republican, will take over the vacancy and resign from the five-member bipartisan board that sets election policy for the county. Gabrione, a former Schererville party chairman, has been on the board nine years.
Kim Krull, the county Republican chairwoman, named Gabrione as the new assistant director in a statement early Wednesday.
Gasparovic's departure comes along with that of County Elections Director Sally LaSota, the ranking Democrat on the elections board staff. LaSota is retiring this month after having directed the bipartisan county elections and voter registration staff since 1997.
LaSota is being replaced by Michelle Fajman, the outgoing county recorder. Fajman has 21 years of experience as an elections supervisor for the county. She and LaSota worked together for many years until late in 2010 when a Democratic caucus named her county recorder.
Lake County is one of only a handful of Indiana counties where a combined election and voter registration board operate under a law requiring both Democratic and Republican parties to select election officials. The county clerks run elections in most counties.
"Nick has talked about retiring for a couple of years now," Krull stated in the news release. "I was always able to persuade him to put it off a little longer. I’m sure he will still be active with the party ... and I appreciate his service.”
"Pat (Gabrione) has a keen sense about politics and elections," Krull continued. "He has been responsible for advancing a lot of the reforms we have done through the Board of Elections this past year. He has played a major role in many of the projects I have implemented the past three years, and Pat always comes to me with solutions instead of problems."