City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

Brandon Flynn with The Lakeland Center Receives
Florida Professional Emergency Manager Designation

The Florida Emergency Preparedness Association has certified Brandon Flynn, The Lakeland Center’s Guest Services, Security, and Parking Manager and Emergency preparedness Coordinator, as a Florida Professional Emergency Manager (FPEM) this past Thursday at their Annual Conference and workshop held in Daytona Beach, Fl. Brandon has worked for the City of Lakeland at The Lakeland Center for over 16 years. Brandon was responsible for ensuring The Lakeland Center was the first venue in the U.S. to receive both emergency preparedness designations (Lightning Ready Facility, Storm Ready Facility) from the National Weather Service in November of 2014. Brandon not only plays a vital role in the planning and execution of every event at The Lakeland Center, but he also is a key part of our city’s Special Event Management Team. The Special Events Team handles several major events throughout the year in the City of Lakeland, such as the Annual Christmas Parade, Red Ribbon Run Half Marathon, and the Sun-n-Fun Fly In. Brandon is a member of the State of Florida Region 4 Incident/Event Management Team, of which several members of the team deployed after Superstorm Sandy to the North East to assist.

This certification recognizes devoted individuals who possess advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform effectively within a comprehensive emergency management program. These programs can reside within the public or private sector. A FPEM has experience and knowledge of interagency and community wide participation in planning, coordination, and management functions designed to improve emergency management capabilities. A FPEM can effectively accomplish the goals and objectives of any emergency management program in all environments.

The FEPA Certification Program is designed to recognize individuals who possess the experience, knowledge, and skills to effectively manage a comprehensive emergency management program. The certification is not only recognizing emergency managers, but also emergency management partners in the public, private, and volunteer sectors who dedicate their time and efforts to the field of emergency management. The term “Comprehensive Emergency Management” means integrating all stakeholders by strengthening preparedness in all mission areas of emergency activity, for all types of disasters. The “comprehensive” aspect of Comprehensive Emergency Management includes all five mission areas to establish a capabilities-based approach to Preparedness. A capability provides the means to accomplish the mission of: Mitigation, Prevention, Protection, Response, and Recovery for all-hazards in a federal, state, local operating partnership. The certified individual has shown that they are capable of effectively accomplishing the goals and objectives of disaster/emergency/incident/event management in all the environments listed above.

The FEPA Certification Program has been in existence since 1999 and is managed by the FEPA Certification Commission with guidance from the Association’s Board of Directors. Commissioners include representatives of the seven (7) geographic regions, multiple emergency management disciplines and diverse professional affiliations. The Commission is devoted to ensuring a fair, equitable and conscientious review of each certification application. This program is the only one of its kind in the State of Florida and one of very few in the country.
Florida Professional Emergency Manager FPEM Criteria:
• Four (4) years direct comprehensive Emergency Management experience of which two (2) were attained in Florida
• Two (2) Florida exercises within the past five (5) years or two (2) actual disaster experiences within the past 10 years
• High School Diploma or GED
• 50 hours of approved general management training
• 150 hours of approved Emergency Management training of which 50 hours must have been attained in Florida in a classroom setting in the 5 mission areas which are Protection, prevention, Mitigation, Response, Recovery
• Emergency Management Institute Professional Development Series Certificate of Completion
• At least Seven (7) Contributions to Emergency Management attained in Florida within the past 10 years. Teaching classes, speaking at conferences, technical specialist in the implementation of programs, special awards and recognition, leadership and participation in a legislative group or committee, evaluating and participating in tabletop and full scale exercises, disaster deployments, special events management, special incident management, incident management team participation, coordination and cooperation with local, state and federal partners.

Welcome aboard to our newest team members!

Best of luck to Shaun Carver, Takis Chondrogiannis, Nicholas Deurloo, William Gillock, Tiffany Holden, Ryan Jackson, Zachary Jackson, Mark Kaczmarek, Lance Kaili, Ryan Keeney, Bill Kovach, Daniel Lebreton, Stephen Pope, Maria Prince, Malanie Sullivan, Sarah Taylor and Kenneth Vanderpool!

watch video

LAKELAND, FL (February 4, 2016) - The City of Lakeland successfully hatched Australian Black Swan eggs using an incubator.  Dr. Patricia Mattson with Companion Animal Hospital said, “We are so excited because there are no documented cases of Black Swan eggs successfully incubated before now.” She added “This is a great day for the swan program and our beautiful City.” Mattson is the official veterinarian for the City of Lakeland’s swans.


The City of Lakeland purchased a Lyon incubator to assist in hatching swan eggs particularly Australian Black Swan eggs.  Steve Platt, City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Supervisor said, “Black swans are not the greatest parents.  Our birds neglect their young and don’t take very good care of their eggs.”  The incubator cost $3,500.  Platt said, “We have tried unsuccessfully with less expensive incubators but this year we had three eggs hatch.”


Australian Black Swans cost between $600-$800 per bird and the City currently has 20 black swans in its flock. The City of Lakeland purchased Australian Black Swans in the early 1990’s.  Platt said, “We are really excited because our Australian Black Swans haven’t produced any surviving offspring in the past seven years.”


Swans made their first appearance in Lakeland in the 1920s as people’s pets but by 1954 the first population of swans was completely wiped out by predators and disease. In 1957, Lakeland resident Mrs. Robert Pickhardt, who was residing in England at the time, reached out to the Queen of England to help restore the Lakeland’s swan population. According to British law, the Queen owns all of the swans along the Thames River in England.


Queen Elizabeth graciously donated a pair of mute swans from Richard the Lion-Hearted’s flock to Lakeland, provided the City would pay for the shipping and handling. The two swans adapted very well to their new home in Lakeland, where their offspring still thrives today.


Lakeland has a flock of 75 swans that live in downtown Lakeland between Lake Morton and Lake Mirror. The swan population is made up of four species: Australian Black Swans, White Mutes, South American Black-Necked Swans and White Coscoroba Swans. Lakeland is also home to many other bird species, which makes it a great attraction for bird enthusiasts. 


The City of Lakeland takes good care of its feathered friends by performing an annual “swan round up” to administer wellness exams. City workers and volunteers travel the lakes by boat and capture Lakeland’s swan population. After the birds are caught, they are placed in holding pens where veterinarians check their health before releasing them back to their water front homes.



Public Meeting to discuss My Lakeland Electric Transmission Line Replacement Project - Edgewood Drive to Glendale Street

View Project Overview

Lakeland Electric will be replacing utility poles along three roads in three phases.

Phase One will start at the substation on Glendale Street to New Jersey Road. 

Phase Two will continue on New Jersey Road from Glendale
Street to Edgewood Drive. Phase One and Two construction should be completed between March 2016 to May 2016.

Phase Three will start on Edgewood Drive from South Florida Avenue to New Jersey Road to accommodate the school schedule at Cleveland Court Elementary School. Phase Three construction should be completed between June 2016 to December 2016.

Lakeland Electric will be replacing wood utility poles with steel poles. Wood poles typically have a life expectancy of 30 years. These poles were installed in 1969. Replacing wood poles with steel poles will:

Improve strength of poles, protecting against damage due to future severe storms

Allow the use of larger wires to increase the flow of electricity

Improve reliability

The project requires heavy equipment. Traffic control is required to ensure the public’s and work crew’s safety. During the project, there will be lane and road closures which will cause some detours. Residents and business owners along the detour routes will be allowed to access their homes/businesses during the closures. Message boards and temporary road signs will be used to help inform the public.

If you have questions regarding the project, please contact Dale Tanner at 863.834.6462 or by email at