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The latest happenings in your city government.


Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas

Response to Media

 

As reported in at least one media outlet, I did speak with Commissioner Wiggs yesterday afternoon.  We have worked together for 10 years and I am obviously disappointed by his statement.  I have carefully followed the plan of action that was publicly outlined at the July 22nd Town Hall meeting including working closely with the Commission endorsed Lakeland Police Advisory Commission (LPAC) as we address the issues facing the Lakeland Police Department. Howard is a respected member of the Lakeland City Commission but as City Manager, I work for the Mayor and City Commission as a whole and therefore understand that different opinions regarding my management of the City are inevitable, especially during the stressful times we are experiencing.

 

I believe I have been responsive to what the City Commission has asked me to do. As requested at the June 28th Agenda Study Session, I had Police Chief Womack meet with the City Commission on July 1st to speak about the actions she and the command staff were taking in response to the issues facing the LPD.  Further, during my comments at the July 22nd Town Hall Meeting, I outlined the specifics of a plan to ensure our investigations followed all required state laws, collective bargaining agreement provisions and due process and to issue appropriate levels of discipline based upon the results of those investigations.

 

I promised and have delivered upon my commitment to keep both the City Commission and the public informed as to results of the various investigations as they were completed, which have included advance notice to City Commissioners followed by public media releases, press conferences and posting on the City’s special LPD microsite.  Recognizing the importance of transparency in response to these issues, this same microsite also includes a robust listing of virtually every piece of information that has been generated throughout our efforts and has become a widely accessed and trusted source of information by our community, our employees and the news media. 

 

I also pledged the support of both myself and the entire municipal organization to work with and promptly respond to any information or request by the Commission endorsed LPAC as they carried out their mission and charge to address the following:

1.      Do we – the City of Lakeland and the LPD – have the appropriate processes in place to address the challenges we are confronting today?

2.      What can be done to improve a speak-up culture within the LPD and City Hall?

3.      What can be done to improve a culture in which citizens can know their complaints will be heard, fairly evaluated and acted upon promptly?

4.      What measurements can we set in place to fairly judge our success?

The LPAC was asked to provide an update to the City Commission within 30 days of their first meeting which was done on September 3rd and complete their final report within 60 to 90 days.  They are on schedule and are planning to present their findings and recommendations at the October 21, 2013 City Commission meeting.

Lastly, in addition to my commitment to work with the LPAC, I stated as City Manager that I would simultaneously be developing a specific plan of action that will address what we learned from our investigations; why our established policies and procedures failed; and outline a framework of initiatives that I and the LPD administration will be implementing to prevent such matters from occurring in the future.  In our September 11thpresentation to the LPAC, Chief Womack and I highlighted our accountability for our respective operations, the status of our investigations, disciplinary actions taken, current responses to issues and most importantly, a comprehensive blueprint of the steps and programs we believe will be required going forward.

 

At a Lakeland Chamber of Commerce function that very same evening, I encouraged Commissioner Wiggs to watch the presentation on the LPD microsite as several of his colleagues had attended the meeting and were very complementary of the information provided.  I was surprised to learn during yesterday’s conversation that he has not yet watched the video presentation.  That presentation was intended to serve as the basis of my final report and recommendations to the City Commission on October 21st following their receipt of the LPAC report.

 

My job as City Manager is to professionally lead and oversee the operations of this organization and I will continue to do so to the best of my abilities during these trying times.  I have carried out exactly what I committed to do dating back to the July 22nd Town Hall meeting. I reaffirmed that same path of action with the consent of the City Commission at their August 5th meeting and we are within weeks of completing that process.  The City of Lakeland has accomplished tremendous success during my tenure as City Manager through a productive and collaborative relationship with the City Commission, and I am confident that this foundation will enable us to successfully resolve our current challenges as well.

 


LAKELAND, FL (September 26, 2013) -- Starting in October downtown Lakeland will soon see a new type of metering system in the parking lot at Munn Park and Lot D located at 200 N. Kentucky Avenue.  The pay by space meters are solar powered and they make paying for parking more convenient than ever. The new pay by space meters accept nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills but they also accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit and debit cards.  

The pay by space meters are now installed.  However, they won’t go live until the morning of October 7th and during the first week of operation, warning citations will be issued to those that receive violations in the two pay by space lots.  Enforcement will begin October 14th.  It must be noted that traditional coin operated meters located in other parking lots will continue to be enforced during the one week grace period.  The grace period only pertains to the pay by space systems located at Munn Park lot and Lot D.

At each pay by space meter location there are "Pay Here" signs that direct patrons where to pay for their parking.  When using the pay by space meter, a visitor needs to enter the assigned parking space number into the meter along with the method of payment.

Pay Here Meter Directions
1.      Park your vehicle and note the number located at the rear of each parking space
2.      Proceed to Pay by Space meter
3.      Pay for desired time (coin, cash, credit/debit) 
4.      Note expiration time limit, once total desired time is paid 
5.      To extend your parking time, go to the pay by space machine
6.      Enter your parking space number and choose the “Add Time” option
7.      Select the additional amount of time needed and pay
8.      Note expiration time limit, once total desired time is paid 


LAKELAND, FL (September 26, 2013) -- Lakeland Electric is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as part of Public Power Week so get ready for a fun-filled, power-packed day!  The event will be held at the Lakeland Electric Training Center across the street from the McIntosh Power Plant.  The Training Center’s physical address is 2727 Centurion Dr. Lakeland, FL 33805. 

October 2013 marks Public Power Week's 27th anniversary as a country-wide program to celebrate the importance of public power to local citizens and other key publics, including state and national officials. Lakeland Electric employees invite all residents to experience their electric utility. 

Participants will see first-hand how electricity is generated, learn how to save energy and dollars, get a better understanding of what goes into establishing electric rates and experience hands-on operations of power equipment.  Attendants will get a firsthand look at the various generation units and the operating systems at the McIntosh Power Plant.  Not everyone gets access to the power plant and this is a rare opportunity to tour the generation facility that produces the majority of the electricity that powers Lakeland. 

Besides the plant tours, there will be a number of activities that will include something for all ages.  The fun-filled, day includes:

·         Bucket Truck Rides

·         Photos with Wattson (Lakeland Electric’s mascot)

·         Children's Activities (Tattoos, Arts & Crafts)

·         Giveaways

·         Food and Refreshments

·         Electric Safety Demonstrations & Displays

·         Smart Meter Educational Tutorial (Benefits & Features)

·         Hurricane Preparedness Demonstrations

·         New Lakeland Electric Web Site Demonstrations & New eServices Portal

·         System Control Demonstrations (How trouble trucks are dispatched)

·         Electri-fried Hot Dogs

·         Customer Care Programs & Services

·         Solar Power Demonstrations and Solar Hot Water Systems

 

Lakeland Electric customers will have the opportunity to meet linemen, system control operators and customer service representatives and ask them any questions you might have. Family Day features something exciting for kids of all ages… so come out and feel the energy!

 

The Lakeland Electric Training Center is located at 2727 Centurion Drive. Take Lake Parker Drive off Memorial heading north toward the McIntosh Power Plant.  Across from the Plant you will see Centurion Drive. Take a right at Centurion Drive and then take the first right off Centurion Drive to the Training Center.  We hope to see you there!

 

 


LAKELAND, FL (September 20, 2013) -- Come to Munn Park on Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. for the 29th Annual Munn Park Extravaganza gardening show presented by the Garden Club of Lakeland, Inc.  A Small Standard Flower Show will be put on by the Garden Club members from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

 

Enjoy a Free family day of activities while exploring the many flowers and plants for sale, attend garden presentations and browse garden related crafts.  Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and there is soil testing for those wanting the perfect garden soil.  City of Lakeland Horticulturist, Bill Koen will present on new plant introduction.

 

There will be over 50 vendors selling a variety of patio and garden items for all your fall plant needs including: flowering plants for house and garden, outdoor plants for your landscaping, and garden art and accessories to spice up your lawn or patio.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase. For more information call the Garden Club of Lakeland at 863-370-4065.