DeSantis appoints Karnes as next Lee County Clerk | News, Sports, Jobs

The seat of retired Lee County Clerk of Court and Comptroller Linda Doggett has been filed by Kevin Karnes, following an appointment by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Karnes is a 14-year veteran of the clerk’s office and previously served as chief operating officer, overseeing approximately 300 employees in departments handling court services, finance and technology according to a biography provided by the clerk’s office. He has implemented new services giving the public more convenient access to the courts while improving efficiencies for the judiciary and attorneys through video conferencing, online scheduling and online document certification, the biography stated.

“I am deeply honored to receive Gov. DeSantis’ appointment, and I appreciate the opportunity serve Lee County,” Karnes said. “With this appointment, your Clerk’s office will continue to operate effectively and efficiently with no interruption in services.”

Lee County Chief Judge Michael McHugh temporarily appointed former Clerk Charlie Green to the role while awaiting a decision from the governor. Doggett announced her retirement in December.

A special election will take place on Aug. 23, to allow voters to elect the clerk until the next general election in 2024.

Karnes started his career with the Lee County Clerk’s office in 2007 as a part-time file clerk while seeking his degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. He worked his way up to evidence clerk, operations manager, chief of courts, and eventually, chief operating officer.

“We are already making progress on our plan to better serve the community,” Karnes said. “My goal is to continue our vision of being recognized as a premier model of exceptional government and provide outstanding customer service to our community.”

Karnes has been actively involved in the community for more than 10 years. He serves on the board of directors of the United Way and on the Florida Bar grievance committee for the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida. He recently chaired the Cape Coral Redistricting Commission, which proposed new district maps to the Cape Coral City Council following the 2020 census.

Karnes previously served as the president of the Southwest Florida Young Republicans from 2016 to 2020 and was on the Lee County Republican Executive Committee for nearly a decade. He has also served on the News-Press editorial board and as a guardian ad litem.

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