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In a budget workshop following the City Commission meeting, Tony Delgado was named Interim City Manager by the Lakeland City Commission as the current City Manager Doug Thomas prepares to leave the organization to pursue a new opportunity.  Thomas announced his resignation on Thursday, August 13th at the conclusion of a late afternoon budget meeting. Thomas stated in a prepared memo to the City Commission that his last day with the City of Lakeland is September 13th. Delgado will take over as Interim effective immediately after Thomas leaves the City of Lakeland.

Mayor Howard Wiggs said, “Tony has my full support to manage our City. He has be been a very capable and effective Deputy City Manager and he’s demonstrated an excellent ability to make decisions based on prioritization.”  He added, “Tony is trusted by the Commission, the employees, the unions, the business community and everyday citizens.”

Delgado said, “I’m truly humbled and honored to be considered as Interim City Manager. I thank the City Commission in having faith in my ability to manage this organization and I’m excited to focus my attention into moving the City of Lakeland forward.”  He added, “We have a great organization with devoted employees and we have an established roadmap in place as we continue to focus on what we do best during this transition period.”

Delgado has served the City of Lakeland for 19 years. He was first hired by the City of Lakeland as Assistant Director of The Lakeland Center in 1997.  In 2001, he was promoted to Assistant City Manager and in 2004 he was promoted to Deputy City Manager.  As Deputy City Manger, Delgado has been instrumental in negotiations with the labor bargaining units and he has been involved in management decisions with all Departments during his tenure.

Delgado is 54 years old. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Management from Southern Illinois University. Delgado is a Certified Public Manager from Florida State University.  He currently serves the community as a board member for Lakeland Vision, Polk Vision and The Polk Museum of Art. Delgado is married to his wife Robin. 

Doug Thomas has announced that he will step down as Lakeland's City Manager on September 13, 2015. 

Resignation Letter


LAKELAND, FL (March 27, 2015) -- The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce Anthony (Tony) C. Camarillo as the newly appointed Director of The Lakeland Center. Camarillo succeeds former Lakeland Center Director Mike LaPan, who retired in January.

Camarillo most recently served as Director of Sales and Services at Navy Pier working for SMG, the largest manager of Convention Centers and Arenas in the US.  Navy Pier Chicago originally opened as a shipping and recreational facility in 1916 and has evolved into a premier family entertainment center. It also provides state-of-the-art space for meetings and trade shows. With over 250,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Navy Pier accommodates public shows, tradeshows, concerts, meetings and events.

Camarillo has over 20 years experience in the event management industry; he began his career with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in 1990 as an Event Manager at McCormick Place, at the time the largest Convention Center in North America.  Camarillo has consistently advanced within the management team, as McCormick Place and Navy Pier both changed management structures.

Camarillo said, “I am ecstatic about this incredible opportunity.  The Lakeland Center has a great reputation in the industry and I can not wait to be a part of the team.”  He added, “There are a number of similarities between Navy Pier and the Lakeland Center including the meeting space the ballroom. The facility has the distinct advantage of having four separate buildings under one roof and I consider myself lucky to lead The Lakeland Center’s great staff into the future.”

City Manager, Doug Thomas said, “We conducted a national search and we were very pleased with the quality of the pool of applicants.  A selection committee that included several City of Lakeland senior staff in addition to Mark Jackson, Director of Tourism and Sports Marketing for Polk County (Visit Central Florida), Jackie Johnson, Senior Vice President, Convention & Visitors Bureau (Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce) and John Ball,Director of Volunteers and Events, First United Methodist Church and former General Manager, Hyatt Place all came to the same conclusion that Tony is the right fit to carry The Lakeland Center into the future. We were all impressed with his track record at Navy Pier, and believe his sales experience, demonstrated partnership development, energy, and personal enthusiasm for the profession will contribute to the success of the Lakeland Center going forward."

The Lakeland Center was originally built in 1974 and received a major face-lift in 1996 with a renovation project that included the addition the Exhibit Hall as well as a redesign that connected all four buildings under one roof.  The Lakeland Center includes the Jenkins Arena, Youkey Theatre, Sikes Hall and the Exhibit Hall.  The facility offers over 100,000 square feet of convention and exhibit space, a grand ballroom, a 2,296 seat theatre, a 10,000 seat arena and an all suites on-site hotel.

Camarillo who is 48 years old, graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Leisure Studeies/Program Management from the Department of Applied Life Studies.  His wife Adele and his three daughters will be joining him in Lakeland at the conclusion of the school year.  Camarillo will start as Director of The Lakeland Center on April 13th and will be paid a yearly salary of $130,000.  


Kevin Cook
Director of Communications
City of Lakeland
Twitter @lakelandgov








LAKELAND, FL (December 17, 2014) – City Manager Doug Thomas is very pleased to announce that two of 

the threefinalists for the Lakeland Police Department’s Chief of Police will be part of the administration that will continue to move the Department forward. Larry Giddens who was serving as the Department’s Interim Chief was named Lakeland’s Chief of Police and Lieutenant Colonel Tony Kirk will move from his current position as Deputy Chief in Topeka, Kansas to serve as an Assistant Chief with the Lakeland Police Department.


Thomas said, “We really got the best of both worlds with Chief Giddens who has continually served this community unselfishly for over 30 years and Assistant Chief Kirk who will bring his 27 years of law enforcement experience to Lakeland.   I really don’t think it could have worked out any better. It is rare to have undergone a national search and be in a position to appoint two top leaders in the field of law enforcement to the benefit of Lakeland’s Police Department.  I want to thank the members of my Advisory Selection Committee for all their hard work in vetting the candidates and they are very supportive of the ability to appoint two of the three finalists to be part of Lakeland Police Department’s senior administrative leadership team.”  


Giddens started his career with the Lakeland Police Department as an auxiliary officer in 1984.  He was hired full-time in 1985 as a patrol officer on the Uniform Patrol Division.  He successfully excelled through the ranks serving on Special Weapons & Tactics, Street Crimes Unit, Hostage Negotiations, Special Investigations and Community Services. As Captain, Giddens was the Commanding Officer of the Uniform Patrol Division and he was named Assistant Chief of Police in 2011 overseeing the Neighborhood Services Bureau.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University, a Certified Public Manager, and attended the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) and a graduate of the 223rd Session of the FBI National Academy. Giddens has served as the Interim Chief of Police since February 2014.


Giddens said, “I am honored and humbled to serve my hometown community as the Chief of Police.  I have worked very hard to get to this stage and want to thank those that served on the Advisory Selection Committee and City Manager Doug Thomas for their hard work in this process.  I also want to thank my family for their undying support, as well as the members of the Police Department, associates from the City of Lakeland, our community leaders and the overwhelming number of citizens who have supported this agency throughout the process.” He added, “I moved into the Interim Chief of Police position with the intentions on improving relations with the media and the State Attorney’s office as well as solidifying strong partnerships with our fellow local, regional, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  I’m eager to bring my experience and skills to this position and with Tony Kirk joining our administrative team, we are going to continue to get better as an agency.”


Kirk started his career as a patrol officer and like Giddens, he has continually moved up within the Topeka Police Department.  Early in his career Kirk served as a Narcotics Officer, Community Police Officer and a Detective. In 2005, he was named Major over Criminal Investigations, then he moved to Special Operations and Field Operations before being named Deputy Chief of Police in 2012.  Kirk served as Interim Chief of Police from August 2014 to October 2014.  Kirk is also a Staff Sergeant with the Kansas Army National Guard, and holds both a Masters and Bachelor of Science from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.  He is also a graduate of the 221st Session of the FBI National Academy.

Kirk said, “I am truly humbled and honored by the opportunity that City Manager Doug Thomas and Chief Giddens have afforded me. While certainly I was competing for the top job, the opportunity to join a first-class organization such as the Lakeland Police Department in this capacity was totally unexpected.” He added “I am excited and looking forward to working with the men and woman of the LPD. I’ve had in-depth conversations with Chief Giddens and Asst. Chief Mike Link. I am looking forward to working with these gentleman and the rest of the senior command staff as we carry the Lakeland Police Department into the future.  My family is very excited about this opportunity and looks forward to being a part of the Lakeland community.


Giddens appointment is effective immediately will make $145,000 per year and he is 52 years old and Kirk is expected to start with the Lakeland Police Department on or before March 15, 2015. He will be making $122,000 per year and is 49 years old.