Born and raised in Connecticut, Don joined the Fairfield Police Department at 21 years old. He served in a variety of capacities within the agency including assignments in the Youth Bureau, Patrol Division and Community Services. Working mostly midnight shifts, Don was able to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science at Sacred Heart University as well as his Master’s Degree in Sociology at Southern Connecticut. Don also met the love of his life and wife of more than 22 years while working at the Police Department. It’s a great story, ask him to tell you sometime!
In 1997, after the birth of their first daughter, Don and his family relocated to Hernando County to be closer to family. Don finished his legal studies at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and went to work as an attorney in Tampa representing mostly government entities in matters related to labor and employment law. In 2000, Don traded in his billable hour requirements for a badge and gun as a special agent with the FBI.
After their second daughter was born, and following stints at Quantico and the Boston Field Office, the travel and hours in the Bureau were a little rough on the family (particularly following September 11th) and the Barbees returned to Hernando County. Don was hired by State Attorney Brad King where he worked his way from misdemeanor prosecutor in Lake County to Supervising Assistant State Attorney over the Hernando County Office. Don has also worked as an adjunct professor at Pasco-Hernando Community College, St. Leo University and Ashford University as well as spending 9 years as the legal instructor at the police academy in Citrus County.
In 2011, as long time Clerk of Court Karen Nicolai planned to retire, Don took a position as Courts Director and General Counsel in the Clerk’s Office. Thanks to Clerk Nicolai’s endorsement and wonderful support from the community, Don was blessed to be elected as Karen’s successor in 2012. Since taking office, Don has overseen the implementation of e-filing ( twice serving as Vice Chair of the Florida E-Filing Authority), e-recording, public access to court documents and many other changes to the administration of the Clerk's Office. He also served as an instructor at the New Clerk's Academy and on several statewide Clerk related boards. Don is committed to leading a team whose mission is to provide unmatched customer service.
In his spare time, Don has served on several local non-profit boards and coached more than his fair share of the girls’ soccer games. He and his family participate in many local running events and are active with their church.