The 10 member CAC gathered in Lakeland to discuss how they will handle the LPD sex scandal

LAKELAND, Fl - The remaining members of the Citizens' Advisory Commission, who are tasked with helping Lakeland and the police department weather a sex scandal, met for the first time Thursday afternoon.

The commission originally consisted of 15 members.  However, over the past four days, five members resigned, including the two co-chairs .

The CAC was formed by Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields to help the city and police department weather the fallout from a sex scandal involving at least 10 LPD officers.  At least five officers have lost their jobs as a result.

On Monday, the advisory co-chairs, Dr. Eileen Holden, who is president of Polk State College and Joe P. Ruthven, who is a prominent Lakeland businessman, emailed their resignations.

Wednesday afternoon, three more prominent panel members jumped ship. 

Dr. Kent Ingle, President of Southeastern University, Dr. Anne Kerr, President of Florida Southern College and Elaine Thompson, CEO of Lakeland Regional Medical Center notified the mayor via email and by telephone.

Those in attendance Thursday included:

Katrina Lunsford - Vice President, Fifth Third Bank

Ana Rivera - President & CEO, Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Polk County

Dr. Jim Sewell - Retired FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement)

Tim Jackson - COO, NuJak Development & Chair-Elect, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

Rick Garcia - Owner & President, Gulf Coast Avionics

Myra Bryant - President of the Lakeshore Neighborhood Association and President of Lakeland's Neighborhood Association Council

Mary Smith - President of the Dixieland Neighborhood Association

Paul Roberts - AP History and AP Government Teacher at Lakeland Sr. High School and Adjunct Professor at Everest University

Bruce Abels - Logistics & Supply Chain Professional, Retired as President of Saddle Creek Corporation after 15 years

The only remaining member not in attendance was Frank O'Reilly, the former mayor of Lakeland and former Polk School Board Member.   According to Mayor Fields, O'Reilly had a death in his family.

The beginning of the meeting dealt with the commission's structure.  Mayor Fields asked commission members how they would like to proceed, whether they wanted a small group, if they wanted a facilitator and their input on what would make the most diversified panel that adequately reflects the community.

Commission members said they would like a facilitator and also discussed having a retired police officer to join the panel to help them distinguish between 'what is fact and what is fiction.'

Mayor Fields, who admitted he struck out with co-chairs, asked if anyone on the panel wanted to serve as co-chair.  In the end, members decided they would deal with the co-chair matter at a later date.

Bruce Abels peppered the city attorney regarding Sunshine Law and whether or not the commission needed to take public input like what occurred at a town hall meeting Monday night in regard to the scandal.

Abels asked that bullet points be handed out to guide the commission on how open they needed to be.  The city attorney promised to guide the commission through that.

ABC Action News is following this story and will bring you updates as they develop.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments