As Kenny Blocker officially assumes the role of District Director today, district board members and community development committee chairs expect a smooth transition. Blocker, who served 18 months as deputy district manager, succeeds Richard Baier, who announced his retirement in December. “It’s absolutely a big job,” he said. “I am overwhelmed by the support from the Boards of Directors and the residents they trust me to manage the entire operation. But it’s not just me. There is a complete team that I am very proud of and very happy to work with. Our collective goal is to maintain the integrity of what this place is.
Baier made Blocker his first deputy in June 2020 and is confident Blocker will succeed.
“I think the fact that Kenny has a lot of experience in the seat, if you will, gave him the preparation for the job,” Baier said. “He was more than just a standby assistant. He and Carrie Duckett (Assistant District Director) have both taken on a lot of responsibilities, especially last year.
Blocker joined the district team in October 2017 as CFO after about a decade as Deputy Superintendent and CFO of Citrus County Public Schools.
He took the job about a month after Baier was hired as deputy district manager.
Shortly after Baier was promoted to District Manager, he chose Blocker to be his best assistant. In June 2020, Blocker was appointed Deputy District Manager.
“Richard knew my background was beyond finance, I was in organizational management and had experience running the store, so to speak,” Blocker said. “So I moved to the post of assistant and then deputy director. Richard and I worked hand in hand.
Blocker is thrilled to lead the local government responsible for sustaining the lifestyle that has made The Villages the best planned community in America.
“In my opinion, this is the best public-private partnership you can ask for,” he said. “Just look around and you can’t help but see that this place is phenomenal. The opportunities they offer residents when it comes to amenities – the engagement and interactions they can have with other people and the number of activities to get them out and keep them active – are incredible.
“You can’t go anywhere to find what we have here. That’s why you see everyone moving here. It is the ultimate residential place to move. You go outside, anywhere else, and there is no place like this. We are working collectively with all councils and residents to maintain this lifestyle they have embraced. “
The district is fortunate to have someone with Blocker’s skills and experience, said Kelly Flores, Village Center’s community development district chair.
“As long as Kenny is here, he’s there right next to Richard,” Flores said. “He was part of the trip. We therefore look forward to what awaits us and are confident that it will continue to provide the excellent services and programs that we have put in place.
Mike Berning, Chairman of Sumter Landing CDD, echoed these sentiments.
“I am very happy that the district is moving forward under the leadership of Mr. Blocker as district manager,” he said. “His experience and in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the district will be invaluable as we move forward. “
Don Wiley, a CDD 10 supervisor and chair of the project’s advisory committee, said Blocker was ready to take on the role.
“There is no doubt he was the right choice,” Wiley said. “He knows the job, he knows what is expected and he is very capable of doing it. It is a difficult task to replace Richard Baier, but we are in good hands with Kenny. Don Deakin, a CDD 4 supervisor and chairman of the licensing authority committee, said Blocker’s experience speaks for itself.
“Mr. Blocker has a great deal of experience and experience with the district, first as a finance manager and as an assistant district manager and deputy district manager,” he said. worked closely with Mr. Baier and I have no doubts that he is more than ready to step up and do the job that is asked of him.
One of Blocker’s first tasks will be to help establish an independent fire district in the villages.
“This is absolutely one of our top priorities for the coming year,” Blocker said. “We have heard from residents who have come forward to support the initiative to establish a Special Independent Fire District, and it will remain at the forefront of our efforts until we get there.”
A fire control district independent of county control would allow The Villages to tailor its resources to the unique needs of the community that extends beyond Sumter County. The boundaries of the new district would include all villages in Sumter, Lake and Marion counties, while continuing to cover areas outside the community but within the service area of the Village Public Safety Department.
Representative Brett Hage, R-Oxford, has placed the issue on the 2022 agenda for state lawmakers, who must approve the decision through new legislation. If it goes as planned, the issue will then go to voters in the November ballot.