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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lee County Commissioners recognize retiring county manager, approve contract for successor

June 22, 2023
By Boca Beacon Reader

To the Editor: 

The Lee Board of County Commissioners today recognized retiring County Manager Roger Desjarlais for his 10 years of leadership and approved a contract for Deputy County Manager Dave Harner to assume the role, effective Aug. 1.

 “I am deeply grateful to Roger for his service to the county over the last 10 years as county manager. He put together and led an outstanding team of county employees who are some of the most talented, knowledgeable and hard-working people in government. I thank him for his commitment to this community and wish him all the best in his retirement,” Board Chairman Brian Hamman said. “Having Dave Harner as our new county manager will provide a seamless transition for our operations and for our residents. Dave has the experience and the tools to successfully lead our organization, and we are excited to get to work with him in his new role.”

 At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting, commissioners presented Desjarlais with a plaque, resolution and video.  

Desjarlais has dedicated himself to public service for more than four decades and has served as county manager in Lee County since July 1, 2013. He oversees a $2.6 billion budget and 2,800 employees. Desjarlais previously was chief deputy at the Lee County Property Appraiser Office. He also served as Broward County manager for seven years. Prior to that, he had a two-decade career with Lee County government, including a post as assistant county manager.

 He was instrumental in many Board-priority projects such as roads, libraries, water treatment plants and parks and conservation lands. He developed the One Organization philosophy and established Lee County government as an employer of choice as well as a United Way pacesetter.

 Harner has served as deputy county manager since February 2019 and has 32 years with Lee County. Harner served as director of Parks & Recreation beginning in 2012 and more recently as assistant county manager since 2015. He also has stepped in to serve as interim director of Domestic Animal Services. As Deputy County Manager, Dave has served as the chief operations officer for Lee County and oversees all assistant county managers as well as having direct supervision of the County’s Natural Resources and Transportation departments.

 Harner has played an integral part in many county challenges and issues, including overhauling and updating critical agreements with stakeholders and partners, streamlining processes through involvement in interdepartmental committees and overseeing Hurricane Irma debris removal and flood mitigation projects. He led Lee County operations during the COVID-19 response and Hurricane Ian response and recovery. His county manager contract is for a five-year term.

Betsy Clayton


Communications Director

Lee County Government