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The Villages
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Developer’s chosen candidates will dominate new fire board in The Villages

Four of the Developer’s five chosen candidates have won appointment to the new board to oversee The Villages Public Safety Department dependent district.

The Sumter County Commission on Tuesday night selected the five members from a list of 25 applicants.

The four Developer candidates who were on a list given to the commission by District Manager Kenny Blocker and were named to the new board are:

• Chris Cristoplous, a municipal public safety professional;

• Kathleen Gowin, a Villages Homeowners Advocates representative with background in finance;

• John Dean, who has more than 40 years in public safety including fire fighting and law enforcement;

• Maryanne Scott, a physician who operated her own private practice.

The one Developer-backed candidate who did not win selection to the board by the county commissioners was Fred Briggs, a former VHA president. Though Blocker presented the list, the VHA claimed it had “vetted” the candidates.

Instead of Briggs, four of the five commissioners chose Steve Bogel, a retired law enforcement executive and military officer.

Commissioner Roberta Ulrich was the only “straight ticket” voter, casting her five initial votes for the Developer’s five chosen candidates.

Based on the number of votes cast, Bogel, Cristoplous and Gowin will serve in the three-year terms. Dean and Scott will serve in the one-year terms.

All of the board members are Villagers. Eventually, all of the board members will stand for election when their appointed terms expire.

A public hearing to formally create the board is set 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Everglades Recreation Center.


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