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LAKELAND FIRE INSPECTOR DAVID BIVENS RESIGNS IN LIEU OF TERMINATION

 

LAKELAND, FL (August 1, 2013) – Fire Inspector, David Bivens resigned today prior to his scheduled Pre-Disciplinary Hearing.  He was recommended for termination based on the Internal Investigation that involves sexual misconduct and a number of policy violations.  The 23 year employee is no longer employed by the City of Lakeland effective today, August 1, 2013.

 

LPD’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS) completed their review of all the relevant facts and evidence presented in the administrative investigation because Bivens possesses Police Standards which requires his investigation to be undertaken pursuant to the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights.  The OPS investigation included statements Bivens made under oath in conjunction with the State Attorney’s related investigation.

 

Based upon the conclusions of the investigation, Bivens Chain of Command and Fire Chief Gary Ballard recommended that he be terminated for the following policy violations:

·         Unethical conduct

·         Conduct off duty that impacts the workplace

·         Willful neglect of performance duties

·         Falsification of employee work records

·         Making false claims of sick leave 

 

Bivens was scheduled for his Pre-Disciplinary Hearing this morning and he submitted his resignation prior to the scheduled time of that hearing.

 

Lakeland Fire Chief Gary Ballard said, “I am very sad and disappointed that any member of our Fire Department would conduct themselves in this manner.  His (Bivens) individual actions should not be viewed in any way, shape or form as representative of the dedicated men and women of Lakeland Fire Department.”  Ballard added, “Conduct such as his will not be tolerated.”

 

Bivens is 48 years old and made $70,937 per year as a Fire Inspector for the Lakeland Fire Department. For more information regarding current investigations and for updates, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.

 

 

City Manager Doug Thomas and Fire Chief Gary Ballard will address the media today at 2:00 p.m. regarding this issue at City Hall in the City Commission Chambers. Lakeland City Hall is located at 228 South Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801.  Attached is the signed resignation.

 

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LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION MEMBER ANA RIVERA RESIGNS FROM PANEL DUE TO WORKLOAD AND HEALTH REASONS

LAKELAND, FL (July 30, 2013) - Ana Rivera, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County president, resigned Monday from the Lakeland Police Department Advisory Commission.  She cited an expanding workload in organizing chamber events and recent medical news as her reasons for resigning. Rivera said, “I've got so many things on my plate that when I saw what we had ahead of us with the Advisory Panel, I found it's going to be a lot of work and I don't think physically I'm prepared for it.”

Mayor Gow Fields said, “In a phone conversation on Monday, Ana shared with me that she and her husband were informed last Friday that he will be facing major surgery.”  He added, “This along with her work schedule and the work for Puerto Rican Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be too much for her to continue. She is excited about the work of the panel and has made some suggestions for me as to who can be appointed in her place.”

Mayor Fields plans to address the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission and present Rivera’s replacement at their upcoming meeting on Friday, August 2nd scheduled at 3 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall located at 228 S. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL.

 

Mayor Gow Fields said, “We have assembled an advisory panel to review the current situation with LPD and City Hall in light of the State’s Attorney’s report to develop recommendations for making improvements.” He added, “The Panel is a diverse group, spanning a range of age, experience, gender, race and political affiliation and I feel confident that they will bring a citizens’ perspective to the issue.”

 

The advisory panel will conduct their business independently from City Administration with full support to meet with any public officials including but not limited to Chief Womack or any other personnel.

 

The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission has been charged to define and answer questions concerning the recent controversies involving the Lakeland Police Department and suggest specific actions that can be taken to improve community trust.  Specific questions to be addressed by the panel include:

·         Does the City and LPD have the appropriate processes in place to address current challenges?

·         What can be done to improve the culture within the LPD?

·         What can be done to improve citizen trust?                                                                                                        

The panel had their first meeting on Thursday, July 25th and during the meeting they named Bruce Abel and Tim Jackson as co-chairs.

For more information regarding the Lakeland Police Advisory Panel, go to www.lakelandgov.net.

 


 

Project Contact:

Greg James, CPM

City of Lakeland – Project Manager

(phone) 863-834-6040

(email) Greg.James@lakelandgov.net

 






 

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE


WABASH AVENUE EXTENSION PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT STUDY

 

 

WHO: Citizens of Lakeland, Lakeland City Commission and City of Lakeland Administration

 

WHAT: Public Hearing - Wabash Avenue Extension Project Development and Environment Study

  

WHEN: Thursday, August 1, 2013 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

 

WHERE: City Commission Chambers at Lakeland City Hall / 228 S. Massachusetts Ave.  

 

LAKELAND, FL (July 30, 2013) – The City of Lakeland has scheduled a public hearing regarding the Wabash Avenue Extension Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study. The hearing is Thursday, August 1, 2013 from 6p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lakeland City Hall, 3rd Floor, City Commission Chambers, 228 S. Massachusetts Avenue in Lakeland, FL 33801.

 

The hearing begins with an open house at 6 p.m., when participants may review project displays and other documents and discuss recommended improvements with staff. A formal presentation begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by formal public comment period open to everyone.

 

The PD&E study is conducted to evaluate the location, conceptual design, and social, economic, and environmental effects of the extension of Wabash Avenue from Harden Boulevard to Ariana Street, a distance of approximately 2.6 miles. The study team is evaluating these improvements to address future travel demand and to provide for enhanced mobility and regional connectivity in Southwest Lakeland. The public hearing is conducted to present roadway concepts under evaluation and to obtain input from elected and appointed officials, property owners/tenants, business owners/operators, and other interested parties.

 

Project documentation is available for public review weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from July 11, 2013 to August 1, 2013, at the City of Lakeland Public Works Department at 228 S. Massachusetts Avenue in Lakeland, Florida 33801. These materials will also be available at the hearing.

 

Participants may provide public comment directly to a court reporter at any time during the hearing. Written comments can be submitted at this hearing or by mail to Mr. Greg Moore, 941 Lake Baldwin Lane in Orlando, FL 32814 or by e-mail to gmoore@drmp.com, no later than August 1, 2013. All written and oral comments will become part of the project’s public record.


Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status. People requiring accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or people who require translation services (free of charge) at the hearing should contact Study Team Project Manager Mr. Greg Moore at (407) 896-0594 or by e-mail to gmoore@drmp.com at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing.

 

Project-related information may be obtained by contacting Mr. Moore or Mr. Greg James, City of Lakeland Project Manager at (863) 834-6040; by email toGreg.James@lakelandgov.net or follow the City of Lakeland Public Works Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/fbcolpw.

 

 

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MAYOR FIELDS NAMES 15 MEMBER LAKELAND POLICE ADVISORY COMMISSION

 

LAKELAND, FL (July 15, 2013) - Mayor Gow Fields has named the 15 members of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission that will be co-chaired by Joe P. Ruthven and Dr. Eileen Holden. 

 

Joe Ruthven is a former Mayor of Lakeland and a successful community businessman for more than 50 years He is the founder and owner of “The Ruthvens” and Joe P. Ruthven Investments. Ruthven has also served as Chairman of the Lakeland Regional Medical Center board and Chairman for the Central Florida Economic Development Council.

 

Dr. Eileen Holden has been the president of Polk State College since 2006.  Polk State serves 20,000 students each year and it is home to Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety, one of the few college-affiliated police academies in the nation to earn CALEA accreditation, with excellence.  In additional to a distinguished academic career, Dr. Holden has served in leadership and advisory roles on numerous civic, charitable and economic boards.

 

Members of the Lakeland Police Advisory Commission include:

 

Dr. Anne Kerr - President of Florida Southern College

Dr. Elaine Thompson - CEO Lakeland Regional Health Systems and Lakeland Regional Medical Center

Frank O'Reilly - Former Mayor of Lakeland and Former Polk School Board Member

Katrina Lunsford - Vice President, Fifth Third Bank

Ana Rivera - President & CEO, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Polk County

Dr. Jim Sewell - Retired FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement)

Tim Jackson - COO, NuJak Development & Chair-Elect, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

Rick Garcia - Owner & President, Gulf Coast Avionics

Dr. Kent Ingle - President, Southeastern University

Myra Bryant - President of the Lakeshore Neighborhood Association and President of Lakeland's Neighborhood Association Council

Mary Smith - President of the Dixieland Neighborhood Association

Paul Roberts - AP History and AP Government Teacher at Lakeland Sr. High School and Adjunct Professor at Everest University

Bruce Abels - Logistics & Supply Chain Professional, Retired as President of Saddle Creek Corporation after 15 years

 

Mayor Gow Fields said, “We have assembled an advisory panel of leading Lakeland citizens to review the current situation with LPD and City Hall in light of the State’s Attorney’s report to develop recommendations and benchmarks for making improvements and for holding officials accountable for delivering those improvements.” He added, “The Panel is a diverse group, spanning a range of age, experience, gender, race and political affiliation and I feel confident that they will bring a citizens’ perspective to the issue.”

 

The advisory panel will conduct their business independently from City Administration with full support to meet with any public officials including but not limited to Chief Womack or any other personnel.

 

The Lakeland Police Advisory Commission has been charged to define and answer questions concerning the recent controversies involving the Lakeland Police Department and suggest specific actions that can be taken to improve community trust.  Specific questions to be addressed by the panel include:

·         Does the City and LPD have the appropriate processes in place to address current challenges?

·         What can be done to improve the culture within the LPD?

·         What can be done to improve citizen trust?                                                                                                        

The panel will report back to the Mayor of Lakeland’s office and to the people of Lakeland on their progress no later than 30 days from now with the goal to provide the Mayor and the people of Lakeland with their full observations and recommendations no later than September 16, 2013.

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