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After six years, Kukla ready to step down



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January 28, 2014 | 01:18 PM
GENEVA — Steve Kukla has been Supervisor No. 4 for three consecutive terms, but this April, someone else is going to take over that spot.

In December, Kukla filed noncandidacy.

Two people are vying for his position in the April 1 general election — Dan “Louie” Lauderdale and Mike Mumford.

In a recent email statement, Kukla discussed why he ran six years ago, why he’s not seeking re-election and what it takes to be a town supervisor.

“Being a good supervisor definitely takes time (because) of meetings, the emails, the paperwork, phone calls, etc.”

Kukla described himself as an outgoing person who enjoys talking to people, one who’s always out and about in town.

“One thing that I pride myself (on) is spending many evenings driving around the town, making sure things are in place, and looking for anything that may be out of place to help alert the proper entity at the town level. It’s also a great way to meet new people during the summer months.”

In an email Monday, Geneva Town Chairman Joe Kopecky said Kukla “has been a great asset” to the town, and that Kukla probably will continue to serve the town, just not on the board.

“Steve always seemed to be everywhere, watching conditions throughout the town, and (he) had a thorough knowledge of what was going on. His representation and leadership on the Lake Committee was especially insightful, as he is the only town board member who actually lives along the (Lake) Como lakeshore.”

In a separate email Monday, Supervisor Keith Millard thanked Kukla “for serving with us on the board and wish him well in his future.” Supervisors Gene Decker and Merle Loomer did not provide comments by deadline.

Kukla said career changes have made it more difficult for him to attend town meetings “and stay in tune to happenings around the town on a daily basis. The timing just worked out that I can complete my full term and pass on the role of supervisor to the next person.”

And what kind of person would Kopecky like to see fill that spot?

“It is critical to have town board members who live in all parts of the town, to give the residents security that their needs are being watched out for by a neighbor, and Steve has fulfilled that role responsibly as a south Como resident,” said Kopecky.

“It will be ideal that his successor be a resident from an area from which we will not have representation after Steve is out of office to continue that neighborhood relationship.”

Kukla said it was a difficult decision to not seek re-election “because I really like being a part of the town,” but it was one he made with the best interest of town residents in mind.

“Although I may be walking away from my official duties, I’ll try to stay involved. I just won’t be the decision-maker behind the desk.”

Background

Kukla has lived in the town his whole life.

In a January 2013 email response to questions about town power outages, Kukla said he lives in a house that’s been in his family more than 50 years, on the south side of Lake Como.

During his time as supervisor, he’s had to weigh in on some controversial issues.

In 2010, Kukla was against the idea of building a new Geneva Town Hall. He also opposed a request by Alliant Energy to build a substation in a residential section of the south shore Como region.

What prompted Kukla to get involved as a town supervisor?

“It all started by having a real heartfelt passion for the community that I reside in. Having been a part of the town my entire life, I witnessed the many changes that took place … over the years. I feel that everyone has a civic duty in life, and my way of giving back was getting into politics.”

Kukla thanked those who supported him over years as well as fellow board members and town employees.

Kopecky wished Kukla “the best of luck” in his professional endeavors.

Kopecky said he looks forward to a day when Kukla “will once again have the flexibility to step up and serve his community on the Geneva Town Board and/or commissions and committees.”

So is Kukla really exiting town politics?

“You never know what the future holds,” he said.

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