Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Veteran clerk of courts in Hernando County announces retirement

Karen Nicolai, 58, has worked in the Hernando County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office for 35 years and says she loved her job.

Karen Nicolai, 58, has worked in the Hernando County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office for 35 years and says she loved her job.

BROOKSVILLE — Longtime Clerk of the Circuit Court Karen Nicolai announced Friday that she will not seek another term next year.

"It's with regret because I love my job,'' the 24-year veteran official said. "I just have other things that I want to do.''

Nicolai said she will endorse as her successor Don Barbee, a former prosecutor who now serves as director of court services and general counsel.

Several hours after Nicolai's announcement, Barbee publicly stated he will run for the job.

"It is with great excitement that I announce my intention to seek the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court for Hernando County,'' he said in a prepared release. "I am confident that my background and experience makes me the right person for this important position.''

Before coming to the clerk's office in May, Barbee spent eight years as a criminal prosecutor under State Attorney Brad King.

He said he was honored to have Nicolai's endorsement.

"In our new reality of ever-tightening budgets, we must be innovative and always looking to provide uncompromised service to our customers at the lowest cost to the taxpayers. Mrs. Nicolai has always demanded efficiency from her staff and looked for new ways to stretch the taxpayer dollar,'' Barbee wrote.

Nicolai said Barbee shared those traits.

"I would not have made the decision to retire if I did not have complete confidence that there was a candidate with the right amount of experience, ethics and energy to keep this office running strong,'' she said.

Friday was the date that Nicolai completed the service she needed in the state's DROP or deferred retirement program. She said it didn't make financial sense for her to stay longer than the end of her current term.

"I have truly enjoyed my job and the opportunities given to me by the people of Hernando County,'' said Nicolai, 58, who has worked in the clerk's office for 35 years. Her annual salary as of the new fiscal year which begins today is $122,587.

"It is now time for me to retire, enjoy time with my family, and continue to give back to the community in other ways,'' she said.

Nicolai also had other plans.

"I love to travel and I plan to do as much of that as I can,'' she said.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Stapf on short list for Minn. job

Joe Stapf, the county's environmental services director, is on the short list to be public works director and county engineer in his hometown of Northfield, Minn., County Administrator David Hamilton said Friday.

Stapf became county utilities director in January 2008 and has led Hernando through several major utility matters such as opening the new cell at the landfill, new franchise agreements with garbage haulers and improvements to wastewater and water systems.

"It is an honor to be considered for this position in the town where I was born," Stapf said. "It would also allow me to be closer to my extended family."

Stapf will meet with the Northfield City Council on Monday and it is expected to make its decision Tuesday.

He would be the second member of Hamilton's leadership team within a week to announce they are departing. Jean Rags, director of community development, announced her retirement as of Oct. 21.

Veteran clerk of courts in Hernando County announces retirement 09/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 8:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]