No obvious positive effect

Our form of government is not why we are a healthy, safe, and strong community - with all of the attendant deficiencies of cities and towns across the Florida and the country, but with smaller doses than most.

It's because of us. Lakelanders. Citizens.

This proposed change will not give Lakeland a better chance to become its best. But we can - and should and must - on November 7th, when we vote for four of the seven city commissioners who will be our conduit to the city's management and departments, for the next four years.

They are not our representatives. They are commissioners. We must represent ourselves.

We are not voting for:

Agnini, Brooke

Anderson, Bruce

Doster, Matt

*Durrence, Larry

Fancelli, Gregory

Fariq, Usman

Fields, Gow

Gifford, Don

Maguire, Mike

Mawhinney, Joe

Mayor, No Boss

Mayor, People's

McLaughlin, Chris

Miller, Grant

O'Reilly, Frank

Oldenkamp, Natalie

Strickland, Gene

Thompson, Bill

Among others. Only one of these names is actually on the ballot, Larry Durrence, the registered chairman of the Charter Amendment opposition, who is running for a seat on the commission, but not for mayor.

And don’t be distracted by the kids in the back who are making spitballs and smart remarks. You’re going to need to know what’s really on the ballot. Yes, it’s a test.

Maybe read this carefully and decide for yourself …

"Should Lakeland change its government to a Mayor-Commission Plan; where Mayor becomes Chief Executive with authority over City operations and employees, except Lakeland Electric's Manager, with veto power over Commission's legislative actions; Commission can override Mayor's veto with 2/3 vote; changing Commission's governing authority to legislative; eliminating City Manager; creating Chief Administrative Officer serving at the pleasure of the Mayor; modifying elected officials' term limits, limiting Mayor to two terms; creating additional Commissioner?”

We say “NOPE”, but we seek to speak to you, not for you.

This might be an interesting place to start your research:

Polk political notebook: Strong mayors, weak spellcheck and dueling websites

See also: Strong Mayor or strong citizenship?

And Vote!

E-mail the commissioners

But one at a time, please!


For the most part, when recipients open an email that includes others they are less inclined to take it personally. Make sure your message resonates by sending it to each commissioner separately.

Scott Franklin - Stephanie Madden -  Sara McCarley - Chad Mcleod

Bill Mutz - Bill Read - Phillip Walker

Each of these noble citizens represents all the rest of us. The four geographic designations - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, etc. - apply only to the residency requirements for commissioners, not to their constituents. Bill Read, for instance, lives in the city's northeast quadrant and is likely to be more in tune with the businesses and neighborhoods in that area, but serves us all as our representative to the city management and staff.

It will always help to send your message to City Manager Shawn Sherouse  because it's his job to implement whatever projects, resolutions, and ordinances the Commission proposes in response to our communication.


State legislators representing Lakeland

Representative Colleen Burton

Senator Kelli Stargell