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The latest happenings in your city government.


Mayor Gow Fields invites local residents to attend the next Mornings with the Mayor event that will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 6th  at the north side IHop Restaurant located at 3427 US Highway 98 N, Lakeland.

Citizens that attend these informal breakfast sessions get to hear from the Mayor about key issues and initiatives taking place within the City before he invites questions from the audience.  This is a chance for residents to converse directly with Mayor Fields on a topic of interest or concern.

Mayor Fields said, “Accessibility is one of the keys to local government and Mornings with the Mayor provides the opportunity for our citizens to share their views, ask questions and provide feedback on issues that are directly affecting them.” He added, “We have successful asked for public engagement during these events and I look forward to spending valuable face to face time with our residents listening to the concerns that they feel are facing our community.”

Those attending will have to pay for their own breakfast.  IHop Restaurant features a breakfast menu with a host of items starting at around $5. The premise behind the Mornings with the Mayor program is to make elected officials more accessible to residents in the community and to promote one-on-one communications.

This program allows residents an informal and comfortable forum in which to meet with the Mayor to talk about issues, ask questions, voice concerns and offer comments or suggestions.  Mayor Fields said, “It’s also an excellent way for us to gather candid feedback about how people feel things are going in our City; what amenities they particularly enjoy, areas they feel could use improvement, or what they’d like to see in the future.”


Tommy Hamrick was named Director of Human Resources for the City of Lakeland.  This is a newly created position that uses one Director to oversee Employee Relations and Civil Service. 

The appointment of Hamrick as Director of Human Resources and the consolidation of two Departments within the City is part of a global streamlining effort by City Manager Doug Thomas.  “We have been working toward a goal to improve efficiencies within this area for some time,” said Thomas.  “Employee Relations and Civil Service have historically been two separate Departments with some overlap of responsibilities and both performed a number of parallel functions. This consolidation also involved the negotiation and approval of a Shared Services Agreement with the Civil Service Board.”

Hamrick will be responsible for the administrative and professional work in planning, directing and coordinating the City's central Human Resources program that includes civil service functions.  Hamrick said, “I am honored to have been selected as the City’s inaugural Director of Human Resources.  My education, training and experience, coupled with the empowerment of a true HR Department, will enable us to create a more effective and efficient system for managing the municipality’s employees.”

Thomas said, “Tommy has been serving as the Director of Civil Service and he has been overseeing employee relations for the past several months after the retirement of the previous Director.”  He added, “His proven track record along with his shared vision of a consolidated Human Resources Department played a significant role in the hiring process.”

Hamrick has been with the City of Lakeland since October 2004.  He has functioned as Civil Service Director as well intermittent duties as the Director of Retirement Services.   He has a diverse background in human resources with experience across the United States and abroad with companies such as EME, Siemens and FMHI.  Hamrick graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and he received his Master’s Degree from the University of Central Florida in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

He is a member of the International Personnel Management Association, the International Personnel Assessment Council and the Society for Human Resource Management.  He is recognized by Human Resource Certification Institute and holds qualifications from the Florida Public Pension Trustee Association.  He is also a Certified Public Manager.

Hamrick has lived in Lakeland since 2001 with his wife Marcy who currently works in human resources for Publix Super Markets.  He and his wife have three children: Tommy Jr. (8), Ian (5), and Molly (2). He is 43 years old and his annual salary as Human Resources Director is $110,000 per year.


LAKELAND, FL (November 5, 2012) -- The Lakeland City Commission voted unanimously 7-0 in favor of a Smart Meter opt-out program for Lakeland Electric.  The program will allow Lakeland Electric customers to choose between a smart meter and a digital meter that must be read manually. 

Smart Meters offer customers added benefits over analog or digital meters.  With a Smart Meter customers can receive energy alerts, view daily energy use and smart meters automatically report power outages.  Smart Meter customers can participate in energy management by monitoring usage through their very own web portal.  Lakeland Electric customers can log onto www.mysmarterpower.com to view their daily energy usage.

Those customers wanting to opt-out of the Smart Meter program can do so by calling Lakeland Electric customer service at 863/834-9535.  There will be a $16.25/month charge for those customers who choose to opt-out because of the dedicated need to have meters read manually each month.  Smart Meters automatically report consumption so manual meter reads aren’t necessary.   The $16.25 monthly charge goes into effect March 1, 2013 for those who choose the opt-out program.  There is also a $65 dollar one-time meter replacement fee to change out a Smart Meter with a digital meter as part of the opt-out program.  This fee is waived until March 1, 2013.

Lakeland Electric has already installed over 115,000 Smart Meters to date and there will be over 120,000 installed by the end of December 2012 when the system is fully deployed. Installation of the new meters started March 2, 2011 as the first step in the overall Smart Grid initiative. The Smart Grid is the evolution of the nation’s utility grid to make it more effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of utility customers and the growing demands placed on the nation’s power industry. Lakeland Electric was one of 100 utility companies to be chosen to integrate into the Smart Grid through funding by a federal grant.

Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida.  The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889.  Today, power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two primary base load plant sites, the 937-megawatt McIntosh Power Plants and the 124-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. Lakeland Electric’s total generation capacity is about 1,100 megawatts.  For more information on Lakeland Electric’s Smart Meter program please visitwww.plugintosmart.com.

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A Halloween costume will not disguise your drunk or drug impaired driving. In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes - one every 51 minutes.

Officers will increase their patrols to specifically look for drunk drivers on our roadways. The stepped up enforcement runs through Sunday, November 4th.

Halloween night is one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 48 percent of highway deaths nationwide on Halloween night in 2010 involved a drunk driver.

The Lakeland Police Department recommends these simple tips for a safe Halloween celebration:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober, ‘non drinking’ driver.
  • If you’re impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to report drunk drivers, Call 911.
  • And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.