City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.



LAKELAND, FL (January 31, 2012) -- Long-time Parks & Recreation employee Bill Tinsley, who has served as Department Director since 1993, including service for the past two years under a Conditional Employment Agreement following his retirement, has been appointed to a newly established part-time position as Special Liaison to the Detroit Tigers / Manager of Community Resources Development. His successor as Director of Parks & Recreation will be named within the next two weeks following completion of a selection process involving internal candidates.

Tinsley will become the City’s primary representative to start working on a new Detroit Tigers Spring Training and Minor League Operations Use Agreement.  The current agreement is scheduled to expire in 2016.  The position will also include responsibilities for solicitation and organization of private sector funding for special City projects and initiatives.

“Last year the City and the Detroit Tigers celebrated our 75 year Spring Training relationship - the longest in Major League Baseball and they hold a special place in our hearts.  The Tigers organization and the City have already started discussions about their future capital and program needs and it is our goal to officially start the process in an effort to negotiate a successor agreement that can be added to the current agreement before it expires,” said City Manager Doug Thomas.  “Bill’s history and unique understanding of their operations is an invaluable asset as we work with the team on the successor agreement. Bill has also demonstrated tremendous abilities as a fundraiser and Lakeland has benefitted greatly through the partnerships he has developed over the years.”  

Thomas added, “Several community park projects enjoyed by area residents, many of which are the envy of other cities, were only possible through the generous individual, corporate and organizational contributions which now total in the millions of dollars.  In today’s challenging economic climate, it is our plan to build upon the historical fundraising successes of the Park & Recreation Department and provide an organization-wide focus for public-private partnerships for future capital projects and initiatives.”

Primary job duties and responsibilities for the position include:

· Explore and analyze proposed capital and operational needs desired to support the Tigers Major and Minor League Baseball operations.

· Coordinate community events and related activities with the Tigers organization.

· Concentrated legislative efforts at both the local and state level to secure financing commitments.

· Coordinate with the Florida Grapefruit League host cities to develop a comprehensive understanding of their respective municipal baseball facilities and explore strategies to help maintain a sustainable Major League Baseball Spring Training Season in the State of Florida.

· Secure private sponsorship dollars for public/private collaborative projects.

· Coordination with the Lakeland Area Community Foundation in support of private contributions.

· Develop annual report that records all in-kind contributions, leveraged grant dollars and all endowments.

Tinsley was first employed by the City of Lakeland in 1971 and has served in a variety of positions before his appointment to the Director of Parks & Recreation in 1993.  He graduated in 1971 from the University of South Florida with a degree in Physical Education, Health, and Recreation.  He is a Certified Public Manager and he has been a Certified Park & Recreation Professional for almost 40 years. Tinsley will be paid an annual salary of $79,900 in his new position.






LAKELAND, FL (January 30, 2012) -- Lakeland City Manager Doug Thomas names Alan Shaffer Deputy General Manager of Lakeland Electric to work closely with General Manager Jim Stanfield over the next two months leading up to Stanfield’s retirement on March 30, 2012.  

Following Stanfield’s retirement, Shaffer will serve as Interim General Manager pending appointment of the head of the utility. Shaffer has most recently held the position as Assistant General Manager Delivery and he has served in that capacity since May 2003. He has 33 years experience with Lakeland Electric and started work with the utility in 1979 as an Engineer.  He is 55 years old and he will be paid $160,000 as Deputy General Manager and Interim General Manager following Stanfield’s retirement.

The City of Lakeland is conducting a national search for a permanent General Manager of Lakeland Electric.   The search is expected to be a 60-90 day process from the start with advertising and recruitment until the applicant pool is narrowed down to a select group of candidates who will be invited to participate in final interviews. Depending upon the candidate that is ultimately selected, it could take an additional two months to have the new General Manager in place. 

City Manager Doug Thomas said, “Alan is the senior Assistant General Manager for the utility and I have great confidence in his abilities to maintain operations during the transition. He is well respected within Lakeland Electric and is also well known and widely regarded among his peers in the Florida municipal electric utility sector.”  He added, “I truly appreciate his willingness to take on the additional leadership responsibilities on behalf of the utility as we transition from Jim’s leadership until the successor is on board.”  

Shaffer is currently responsible for all aspects of the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of Lakeland Electric’s transmission, distribution, substation, and lighting facilities. His career experience includes electric transmission and delivery planning, system protection, substation engineering and the management of operations. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida, a MS in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida and is a registered Professional Engineer.

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 785-megawatt McIntosh Power Plants and the 93-megawatt Larsen Power Plant.




LAKELAND, FL (January 20, 2012) -- The City of Lakeland is offering its 11th Annual Citizens Academy to area residents with the first session starting February 23, 2012.  The Citizens Academy is a free, hands-on, interactive public information program that familiarizes citizens with City services and the functions of City Departments. The Lakeland Citizens Academy allows residents to get a behind the scenes look of how City government operates and it provides an outlet for citizen input. The program consists of six (6), two (2) hour evening sessions, one session per month. 

2012 Session Dates

February 23                History & Finance

March 22                     Police Department

April 26                       Fire Department

May 24                        Public Works & Planning

June 28                       Utility Services

July 26                        Parks & Recreation                

The program is limited to 25 citizens aged 16 or older.  Enrollment in the class is based on a first-come-first-served basis.  All participants interested in the Citizens Academy are encouraged to attend all of the sessions in order to get the most from the program.

All sessions, unless otherwise noted, are from 6-8 p.m. and the first session will meet in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall, 228 South Massachusetts Avenue.  A light dinner is served at 5:45 p.m. during all sessions.  At least three sessions will meet away from City Hall and directions will be given for each City building or facility that houses a Citizen Academy session.

The class will graduate with a certificate in “Governmentology”  at the end of the last session.  Those interested in participating should contact Kevin Cook at 863/834-6264 or to secure a spot on the roster.



Lakeland Camellia Society
30th Annual Camellia Show & Plant Sale
Saturday January 28, 2012
News release:
Have you ever seen a camellia bloom? If you have, then you know its beauty is the best kept secret in the flower world. If you have not seen this spectacular porcelain-like flower, you have an opportunity to see for yourself literally hundreds of camellia blooms in an amazing array of different colors, sizes, and varieties at the Lakeland Camellia Society’s 30th Annual Camellia Show and Plant Sale.

The Lakeland Camellia Society will hold their annual one-day Camellia Show at North Lakeland Presbyterian Church in the Fellowship Hall, 6725 N. Socrum Loop Rd, Lakeland, Florida on Saturday, January 28, 2011. It is open to the public for leisurely viewing from 1 to 5 pm. Mark your calendar now to come see the world’s best-kept flower secret.

The Fellowship Hall has ample free parking. Admission is free and the building is wheelchair accessible. 

Those wishing to enter blooms need not be members of any club or society. Just bring your blooms to North Lakeland Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall between 7 and 9:30 am. The show is held under the rules of The American Camellia Society, which certifies the judges and establishes the categories so amateur and professional growers compete equally. Members of the Lakeland Camellia Society will be on hand to assist in placing blooms for judging, identifying blooms and answering any questions about Camellias, Lakeland Camellia Society, and The American Camellia Society.

The plant sale is scheduled from 12 pm to 5 pm unless sold out. There will be many different varieties of camellia plants on sale to help people get started or just add to their collections of camellias. 

LCS meets at 7:00 pm the second Tuesday of each month October through April in the City of Lakeland Tigertown Complex at Parks Field offices 2220 North Lake Avenue, Lakeland FL. 33805.

For more information, call John Shirah (863) 858-3789.
Mail inquiries should be sent to:
Lakeland Camellia Society
8220 Walt Williams Rd.
Lakeland, Florida 33809-0822.
Brian S. Dick
Show Chairman