LAKELAND, Fla. - Lakeland's Citizens' Advisory Commission continues to get smaller. On Wednesday, the City of Lakeland confirmed three more members have stepped down.
The CAC was formed to help the Lakeland Police Department weather the fallout regarding a department sex scandal involving 10 officers. At least five officers have lost their jobs as a result.
The latest members to turn in resignations include: Dr. Kent Ingle, President of Southeastern University, Dr. Anne Kerr, President of Florida Southern College and Elaine Thompson, CEO of Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
On Monday, the co-chairs of the CAC, Lakeland businessman Joe P. Ruthven and Polk State College President Eileen Holden also resigned.
Both were named co-chairs by Mayor Gow Fields on July 12.
In letters obtained by ABC Action News, Ingle stated that he believed transparency and openness are the significant avenues to cultivate healing and building trust.
Kerr sent a letter to the mayor stating, "I am concerned that a group of fifteen individuals will require more time reaching consensus without their leadership. Therefore, I too, must regretfully decline to continue serving."
Elaine Thompson verbally stepped down.
In Holden's letter to the mayor, Holden said she initially was told she'd overlook five or six citizens. However, roughly 15 citizen are now on the commission.
Holden also pointed to challenges facing the city, writing:
- The absence of consensus (and meaningful collaboration) on the City Commission
- A series of breakdowns in communication and accountability that span the City's organizational chart, from top to bottom, (an issue I see as both personal and cultural)
- An antagonistic relationship between the City and local print media
- A breakdown in trust between the City and the State Attorney's Office.
Holden went on to say, "On a personal note, I wish to emphasize the input I have already provided to you: specifically, I encourage you and your colleagues on the Lakeland City Commission to take this crisis as an opportunity to reflect with eyes wide open on leadership and accountability breakdowns that are already evident."
Holden concluded that the City has 'an opportunity to enact meaningful reform' in the choices they make to rectify this situation.
Ruthven reportedly also took issue with the size of the committee.