Deputy District Director | News | The Daily Sun of the Villages

Village District Director Richard Baier is resigning from a long career in public service at a time of rapid growth, pandemic challenges and expansion of government services to the country’s largest retiree community. Its last day will be January 7. Baier broke the news via recorded video released at a village center community development district supervisory board meeting on Wednesday. “Looking at our team here in The Villages District Government, I am delighted to say that we have such a strong team that embodies our core values,” said Baier. “When I look at the progress we’ve made over the past few years, we’ve taken a solid foundation and built on that. The board of directors unanimously approved Deputy District Director Kenny Blocker as Baier’s successor. Baier leaves behind a strong legacy in The Villages, said Kelly Flores, president of the Village Center.

“Working with Richard has been a great experience,” she said. “He is very knowledgeable about all aspects of district government and knows all the ins and outs. Transparency was something he often mentioned, and he lived up to it. He was always ready to explain things and take the time to explain why it had to happen this way.

Baier was appointed District Manager in July 2018 after serving – as Blocker did – as Deputy District Manager. Previously, he was Deputy Sumter County Administrator and Director of Public Works, a relationship often cited for the strong partnership between The Villages and the county.

Baier’s career also includes 35 years of public service, including director of transportation and environmental services in Alexandria, Virginia; the administrator of public works for Clearwater; and director of operations at the Florida Department of Transportation.

Among the accomplishments of which he is most proud, Baier highlighted:

– A new program for energy recovery from solid waste and recycling.

– Technology upgrades that enable more paperless transactions.

– Improved communication and customer service with an improved weekly district newsletter.

– A refurbished District fleet service and the purchase of its own fuel installation.

– Transparency created with the District Balanced Scorecard.

– A fiscal responsibility that has saved tens of millions of dollars thanks to the refinanced bonds.

– Protect the village public safety service after newly elected Sumter County commissioners considered options to merge it with the county fire service.

– Spearheading the proposal to create a special independent fire district focused on the unique needs of retirees, an effort currently underway in the Legislature.

Blocker has risen through the ranks in district government since taking on the role of CFO in October 2017. He was promoted to Deputy District Director in July 2018 and assumed the position of Deputy District Director in June 2020 .

During his tenure, Blocker supervised directors and managers in the Office of Management and Budget and the finance, procurement, risk management and special projects departments.

“I am very grateful for your support and your confidence in me,” Blocker said. “But it’s not just me who am distinguished, it’s the great team we have here. It’s a great team everywhere – in the recreation centers, Community Watch, the fire department, behind the scenes in accounting and budgeting – there are a lot of people running this place. I am deeply indebted and grateful to them for taking this opportunity to be a leader of the team and to move this place forward. We all know this is a great place to live, and it’s our job to maintain the integrity of the community. Growth and development are not slowing down, so we have a big chore ahead of us. I don’t take this job lightly.

The board is fortunate to have someone with Blocker’s skills and experience, said Flores.

Specialized writer Keith Pearlman can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5347, or [email protected]

Daniel E. Murphy