Mediator to Help Determine Who Will Fill Vacant City Council Seat in Lakeland
There were several dozen people in attendance at the most recent City Council meeting at Lakeland City Hall, but the meeting was canceled because there was no quorum. Two council members sat out the meeting because of their opposition to the mayor’s choice to fill the council’s vacancy. Now, mediation will be used to determine who will fill the petition.
The failed meeting was another sign of the city’s ongoing issues of dysfunction. Three hundred residents have even signed a petition calling for an audit of the city. Lakeland is home to about 1800 people.
According to Joe Paiement, one of the two council members who skipped the meeting stated, “To have the whole place standing room only is really unusual. It is a sign that something is going on that has sparked concern.”
The mayor expressed his disgust in the city council saying “I could bring in Mother Teresa [and the council] would still deny that person.”
According to Julie Thron, one of the people who organized the petition calling for the audit, “There are so many things in the city that are not functioning properly and I think everyone’s frustration level is at such a high.”
One of the biggest concerns is the fact that Council Member Jim Stanton was appointed the city’s public works commissioner and zoning administrator, but was not forced to relinquish his position on the council. Stanton eventually stepped down from his council position and the mayor appointed someone to the position. Paiement objected to the appointment because there were five other candidates that were not even considered.
All of those involved will come together to discuss the appointment and possibly other issues in the upcoming mediation.