An individual who will play a key role as The Villages moves toward building homes in Fruitland Park was hired Thursday night by the Fruitland Park Commission.
Gary La Venia, township manager in Maple Shade, N.J. will be the new city manager in Fruitland Park.
“He is the right man for the job,” said Fruitland Park Mayor Christopher Bell. “We did our homework. He has managed a lot of growth in his career.”
The Villages plans to build 2,038 homes on the Pine Ridge Dairy Tract.
“I think The Villages are impressive,” La Venia said in a phone interview Thursday evening. “I think this development is going to be a real bonus for Fruitland Park.”
La Venia has been township manager in Maple Shade, N.J. since March 2010.
For six years prior to that, he worked in Burlington County, N.J. as director for the county improvement authority. In his resume, he described Burlington County as, “Once almost 100 percent farmland, roughly one-third of the region is now extensively developed. Growth occurred at a tremendous rate.”
He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Rutgers University.
La Venia will be paid $99,950 annually. He will be provided a $5,000 moving allowance. He will have a guaranteed 16-week severance package. He will start with three weeks paid vacation his first year and will have four weeks paid vacation the second year.
His start date is Jan. 6.