CHESTERTON | A new clerk-treasurer will take office here Wednesday, succeeding Gayle Polakowski, who held the post for the past quarter of a century.
Retiring due to heath, Polakowski’s position will be filled by Stephanie Kuziela, who was elected in a Republican Party precinct committeemen caucus on Dec. 23.
Kuziela comes to the post after serving as Chesterton Town Manager Bernie Doyle’s administrative assistant.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in business administration and is finishing another Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership and supervision. She is a certified public supervisor through Ball State University and a certified grant administrator through the State of Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
Two other candidates threw their hats into the ring but lost to Kuziela —Thomas Kopko, Chesterton Stormwater Management Board president, and Suzette Huyser, a Westchester Township Board member.
“Stephanie stepped in at a critical time for us as she has done for other major projects, just one of which was learning the new Gateway system required by the state for budget management. She sought guidance from area clerk-treasurers, fine-tuning her skills, gaining their trust in the process. At the same time she worked closely and at times daily with the deputy clerk, town attorney, town financial consultant and myself to stabilize the 2013 budget learning the complicated state financial schedule in the process,” said Doyle.
“There are very few people who are as qualified as Stephanie to lead that position," Doyle said. "Very few have the big picture of what is going on and the day-to-day operations. She will be a fine addition to our leadership.”
Kuziela will serve the remainder of Polakowski’s two-year term before municipal elections in 2015.
“I have been working with the clerk-treasurer's office for the past two and a half years,"Kuziela said. "Gayle has been very helpful and supportive with my training. I’ve made relationships with other clerk-treasurers that I can call on and I’m thankful for an experienced staff. I just want to share the knowledge I have and help improve the town.”
“This is not about filling a job, it's about legacy—a legacy of continuing the tradition set by Gayle Polakowski of community service and of responsible government—a legacy Stephanie subscribes to," Doyle said. "She genuinely cares about this, her home community.”