How Dave Harner rose from maintenance man to Lee County manager

Author: David Dorsey, Gulfshore Business
Published: Updated:
Lee County Manager Dave Harner (CREDIT: Lee County Government)

Dave Harner began his first Lee County Commission meeting Tuesday as the newest county manager sitting in a leather chair that was occupied by his mentor Roger Desjarlais for a full decade prior.  

Harner, a county employee for 32 years, including stints as parks and recreation director and, more recently, deputy county manager, will oversee a $2.6 billion budget and about 2,800 employees. He’s the only county employee that can be selected via a vote by the five county commissioners. They unanimously agreed to hire Harner as Lee’s ninth county manager since 1970 on June 6.  

“We just happen to have a great team in the county in general,” said Harner, who served with the U.S. Navy, stationed overseas in Bahrain in the early 1990s during Operation Desert Storm. 

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