300 Lee County staff members deputized Wednesday morning

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
The Old Lee County Courthouse. Credit: WINK News

A swearing-in ceremony was held for Lee County deputy clerks Wednesday morning, with more than 300 staff coming together after most of them spent the last two years working from home.

Now that those 300 staff members have been deputized by Lee County Clerk Kevin Karnes, they will be able to certify documents, issue marriage licenses and issue passports. Karnes was recently appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and this ceremony typically happens when a new clerk is appointed or elected so staff members can continue services.

Karnes says this a great chance for him and other staff members to meet in person after so many of them have worked separately since the pandemic began.

“We care about this community and we want to provide the best service that we can, and we’re here to celebrate their moments in their life,” Karnes said. “I’ve been with the agency for 15 years, I know the staff really well, a lot of time I’m on with them on the screen, because of the pandemic. I’m really excited to see them in person and thank them for their service and get them officially sworn in by my leadership.”

Karnes says events like these really bring people together.

“Throughout the pandemic, they’ve been really been working from home a lot of the time and we’ve only had 16 clerks in the county, so I really enjoy bringing the team together to tell them a little bit about office history, to say hello to them… and to commemorate them,” Karnes said.

The ceremony took place on the steps of the Old Lee County Courthouse at 8 a.m.

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