The Queen Of City Hall

Author, Lila Zuck

Relieving the Town Manager of dual duties, Elsie Lehman was hired by Mayor William L. Clarke, Jr.

Elsie Lehman in 1965.

On March 1, 1943 to assume what appeared to her at the time to be a temporary position as Town Clerk.

Never expecting it would extend through the incorporation of Naples as a city and stretch over a period of 26 years.

The “Queen of City Hall”, as Elsie Lehman became known, was described as being busy as a bee all the time, but affably ready and willing to assist citizens with a problem. She was capable of answering most questions about the history of Naples without referring to the shelves above her desk stocked with past records.

During Council meetings, she sat at the dais beside the Mayor, and was the only full-time employee in the Clerk’s office for almost four decades. In 1947, Betty McLenon was hired to assist her on a part-time basis as the town’s first Deputy Clerk.

The Clerk’s duties included organizing the town’s records, recording the minutes of Town Council meetings, Town Council Board of Equalization meetings, and Town Court proceedings. It was also her job to register voters, compile payroll, maintain insurance and social security records, and prepare election ballots. In 1949, prior to Naples’ incorporation as a city, she was Deputy Town Manager. In 1960, The authority to approve and grant occupational licenses was transferred from City Council to the City Clerk.

The 1959 Charter revised the constitution of the Canvassing Board. Formerly consisting of the Town Council, it was amended to include three persons: the City Clerk, a person designated by city council to serve as the supervisor of elections for the city, and the mayor,

When the “Queen of City Hall” removed her crown at the end of each work day she became Mrs. Lehman, the wife of Town Councilman Rex Lehman, member of the first City Planning Board, City Recreation and Parks Board, first president of the Naples Quarterback Club and organizer of the first Naples High School football team.