Joe P. Ruthven and Eileen Holden were expected at a townhall meeting about the LPD sex scandal

LAKELAND, Fla - A town hall meeting regarding the sex scandal rocking the Lakeland Police Department will go on as scheduled at 6 p.m. tonight  but two key people will not be in attendance. 

The co-chairs of the Citizen's Advisory Commission (CAC), Lakeland businessman Joe P. Ruthven and Polk State College President Eileen Holden, resigned early this afternoon.

Both were named co-chairs by Mayor Gow Fields on July 12.

The CAC was formed to help LPD weather the fallout regarding a department sex scandal involving 10 officers.  At least five officers have lost their jobs as a result.

In her letter to the mayor, Holden says she initially was told she'd overlook five or six citizens.  However, roughly 15 citizen are now on the commission. 

Ruthven reportedly also took issue with the size of the committee.

Holden also pointed on 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:  specifially, 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 choises they make to rectify this situation.

The CAC is slated to meet for the first time Thursday night.

Calls to Mayor Fields for comment were not immediately returned.



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