Some of your neighbors opposed
Jack Harrell, Jr
Stephen Moore, Jr
Joe L. Ruthven
Joe P. Ruthven
Louise "Weebo" Watkins
They say the Commission and Mayor will balance each other, but that’s not true. The Commission cannot make the Boss Mayor do anything! And the Mayor gets near limitless powers: Line-item budget veto, hiring and firing all City staff outside Lakeland Electric, controlling departments that support Lakeland Electric, creating and eliminating City departments. This is a dangerous proposal.
Executive and Community Volunteer
Population size does not matter. Ethical, Efficient, and Effective government DOES matter. There's nowhere in the book of governance that states as a city grows the council-manager form of government is no longer relevant. However, proponents of the Strong-Mayor will have you to believe that size matters and b/c of that Lakeland now needs a Strong-Mayor. Not true! What does matter is that essential city services are delivered to ALL citizens ethically, efficiently, and as effectively as possible. There is no better system that promotes what matters better than our current form of Council-Manager.
Ashley C. Troutman
Today Lakeland’s city government is a successful “business-like” or “corporate” model. And it works! Our City Commission is the “Board of Directors”, setting direction and strategy. The City Manager is the “CEO”, responsible for implementing the “Board’s” directions. If the CEO (City Manager) fails he or she can be fired at any time. Under Boss Mayor, no matter how badly the Boss performs they can only be fired on Election Day.
Also, The Boss Mayor proposal adds a lot of costs: AT LEAST $100,000 plus benefits for the Mayor and $30,000 for a 7th Commissioner, plus unknown staffing and legal costs to deal with the changes. Why throw additional and substantial taxpayer’s dollars at something that’s not broken?
Hollis H. Hooks
The strong mayor issue is reminiscent of why Polk County changed from an elected School Superintendent to an appointed professional. The reason voters overwhelmingly supported the change was because each time an elected superintendent won, they released many of the qualified personnel and replaced them with their friends. This is what will happen with a strong mayor form of government.
As a lifetime resident of Lakeland, I prefer to be governed by seven people instead of one. Therefore, I am adamantly opposed to a strong mayor form of government for our great city. This is not the right thing to do and not in our best interest.
This idea is being funded by one person who claims primary residence in Florence, Italy and has already put in $40,000. He even offered to pay for a special election is August when our citizens are on vacation or preparing their children for the start of school.
Former Mayor & Commissioner, 14 years
Having lived in Lakeland since 1960 and having worked for Lakeland Electric for 31 years, I think I am qualified to say the present Council/Manager form of city government works very well and does not need to be changed.
The highest performing cities with premier quality of life attributes are those with governance systems that are aligned with and compliment the personality or “DNA” of that city. Some communities prefer a more authoritarian governance model while others prefer a collaborative system. Lakeland was built on a foundation of community collaboration. Lakeland’s collaboration reaches across the, private, not-for-profit and public sectors to include the leading businesses and organizations of the community. Our current governance model, the Council-Manager form as it’s called, is a collaborative governance model patterned after the corporate Board of Directors – CEO governance model.
Lakeland’s collaborative approach greatly leverages the community’s resources, strengthens its capacity for problem solving and enhances our ability to pursue opportunities. Collectively this has allowed us to effectively compete with much larger cities. Lakeland is one of the leading cities in the Central Florida Region and is highly regarded throughout the state of Florida.
Today the community is being asked to switch to an authoritarian governance model called Executive Mayor. As a former mayor of Lakeland and past president of the Florida League of Mayors I understand that this model works for some cities. While this model would have made my job a little easier as mayor, it is not a good fit for Lakeland. Making life easier for those in power is not a noble pursuit. I highly recommend the collaborative governance model for Lakeland. Your current Council-Manager governance model has served you well and you have an amazing future with its continued utilization. It benefits the entire community and by its design encourages us to continue building on the great foundation we inherited through collaboration and cooperation.
I was perturbed by The Ledger's lead headline about the so-called "strong mayor" initiative ["Strong mayor may go to vote: Residents' group wants city's top executive elected," January 27th]. It leads one to believe that poor, downtrodden citizens like myself are at the forefront of this movement, but, in fact, the primary proponent seems to be a bunch of lobbyists hired by business interests who would like to recast Lakeland government to more fully serve themselves.
Pd. Pol. Adv. paid for by No Boss Mayor Committee, 3062 Shoal Creek Village Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803.