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DeSantis taps Palm Beach County Commissioner to lead highway safety

 Palm Beach County Dave Kerner received his first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine at the South Florida Fairgrounds vaccination site in unincorporated Palm Beach County, Fla., on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Kerner urged all eligible residents to sign up for the vaccination.
Thomas Cordy, The Palm Beach Post
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The Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach County Dave Kerner received his first dose of the Modern COVID-19 vaccine at the South Florida Fairgrounds vaccination site in unincorporated Palm Beach County, Fla., on Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Kerner urged all eligible residents to sign up for the vaccination.

A familiar face in South Florida governmental, legal and law enforcement circles has been named to fill an important position in state government.

After crossing party lines to endorse Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2022 election, Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner was tapped Thursday to serve as executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Kerner, a Democrat, drew national attention in September when he endorsed the Republican governor’s re-election bid.

He will serve as interim executive director of the department until his nomination can be approved during a meeting of DeSantis and the state Cabinet on Jan. 17, according to an announcement from the governor’s office.

The announcement did not provide comment about DeSantis’ decision to nominate Kerner, a lawyer and former police officer who served two terms in the Florida House before getting elected to the Palm Beach County Commission.

DeSantis also appointed Michael Barnett, the chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, to replace Kerner on the county commission.

Terry Rhodes, who served as executive director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles during DeSantis' first term, announced last month that she was stepping down.

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