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Lake County Government Center

Lake County Government Center

CROWN POINT — The Lake County Council has chosen a replacement for longtime finance director Dante Rondelli, who retired last month after more than 25 years as the council’s budget guru.

At a special session Thursday, the council voted 6-0 to hire Scott Schmal, graduate of Purdue University with 15 years of experience in corporate finance and accounting. Schmal comes to the county after eight years at NIPSCO parent company NiSource, where he worked as a senior financial analyst and accountant.

Schmal is expected to start on Monday and will be paid an annual salary of $150,000, according to Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland.

“I'm excited to bring him on board,” Dernulc said. “He wants to stay in this area, so we’re excited to have him.”

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Schmal will step into a role helping the seven-member council develop and manage a budget of about $160 million spread across more than two dozen elected and administrative departments. He has a roughly three-month window to become acquainted with the complexities of county finance before the council begins its 2020 budget deliberations later this summer.

Schmal was picked with the assistance of GovHR USA, which conducted a nationwide candidate search on behalf of the council.

The Northbrook, Illinois-based firm had previously filled multiple senior-level vacancies in the Region, including a redevelopment director for Highland, a director of public works for Munster and a chief of police for St. John.

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