Florida Keys News
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Clerk changes seats

For nearly three decades, Clerk of Court Danny Kolhage has served as Monroe County's chief compliance officer. He has conducted audits of county contracts and programs and has made sure taxpayer money is being spent properly.

He has long been a stickler about paperwork and making sure procedures are followed before county checks are cut, which has earned him the adulation of the public. However, he has not been involved in the setting of policy, which has made him immune from some public scrutiny.

His role will change on Tuesday, as he will be sworn in as a county commissioner at the commission's meeting in Key Largo.

Since being elected, Kolhage has held his cards close to his vest as to his stance on issues including No Name Key electrification and the budget. He told The Citizen last week that people will soon learn his opinions on such matters, but he wants to wait until he is seated on the dais.

Kolhage has had the luxury of sitting back and listening to various county policy debates for 29 years.

"It would be difficult to come in cold," the soft-spoken Kolhage said. "I have been studying several of the issues for the past several months."

Kolhage admitted it is a "different world" from being clerk, but said he was prepared for it. He said he welcomed the challenge and was ready to serve, noting the commission was looking at several major issues.

The county has embarked on its largest construction project to date -- the $150 million-plus Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System -- and is updating the county's comprehensive land-use plan.

Also Tuesday, the commission will select a mayor and vice mayor. It is Commissioner George Neugent's turn in the rotating mayor position.

He said he'd accept it if nominated by his fellow commissioners, who have said they plan to do so.

The commission will meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo.

tohara@keysnews.com

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