Joseph Abruzzo was officially sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 5 as Palm Beach County’s new clerk of the circuit court and comptroller, thanking everyone who has supported him during his time in the Florida Legislature and in his new role as clerk and comptroller, and pledging to build stronger relationships with his fellow constitutional officers and justice partners.
Abruzzo also spoke directly to his team of nearly 700 employees, committing to a new course for the office — including the creation of an ombudsman position who will report directly to Abruzzo, and serve as a direct advocate for employees.
“To the employees who are watching: You are the foundation of this office. Everything that occurs positive, happens from you,” Abruzzo said. “I enter this office with you in mind. We are going to set a new philosophical course of our office.”
Abruzzo’s priorities for employees will include reviewing the office’s safety standards, offering improved child care options for working parents and expanding the office’s award-winning wellness programs.
He also announced that he has requested that the state’s auditor general conduct a full review of the office’s practices and policies to ensure they are in compliance with state law.
“This is not a mark on the great work that everyone has been doing. We are going to get a clean bill of health,” Abruzzo said.
He also promised to not accept campaign contributions from any vendors affiliated with the office and would not accept campaign contributions from employees when he runs for re-election. “This office will be completely free of political influence, based on political contributions,” Abruzzo said.
Abruzzo’s oath of office was broadcast virtually due to COVID-19, with a small group of clerk’s office leaders, as well as close friends and family, on hand. Abruzzo’s son, Joseph II, held the Bible for his father while he was sworn in by Chief Judge Krista Marx.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg welcomed the socially distanced audience in attendance for the swearing in for his friend and former colleague in the Florida Legislature, sharing his thoughts on the critical role that the clerk’s office plays in Palm Beach County’s government.
“If you think about it, the clerk’s office is the most important office in our county, that few people outside the courthouse know about,” Aronberg said. “They deal with all the paperwork, they deal with the financial oversight, they keep the court system running.”
Rabbi Amy Rader led the invocation at the ceremony, praising Abruzzo’s leadership and his service to the community. “If anyone can protect our public records and our public funds with integrity and honesty and responsibility, Joe Abruzzo, you are the one to do that,” Rader said.