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By Brian Ackley
City of Lake Wales 

Committee Appointed to Review Lake Wales City Charter

 

Last updated 6/24/2020 at 12:14pm

Top (left to right) Chevon Baccus and Sara Jones. Bottom (left to right) Andy Oguntola, Keith Wadsworth and Jim Weaver.

A blue-ribbon committee of residents will spend the next few months reviewing the Lake Wales charter – the document that details how the city is governed – with an eye towards putting any suggested changes in front of voters next spring.

The five-person group will conduct all its meetings publicly, and ultimately can only suggest changes. Those suggestions are then considered by the current city commission, and then go on the ballot if they give them a thumbs up.

The committee also could make a recommendation that the charter needs no changes. It was last reviewed by a citizen's committee in 2010.

Each current commissioner was allowed to nominate one person. The charter review group will face a deadline of Jan. 6, 2021, 90 days prior to the April 6, 2021 city elections to submit any recommended changes.

"We've got some great people on the charter review committee," Mayor Eugene Fultz said. "Going forward, I'm sure that any changes that will be made will be totally positive for Lake Wales. Hopefully, any of those changes will be done very meticulously and with a lot of thought before we put it out there."

One member of the new committee, Chevon Baccus, also served as a member on the 2010 charter review group. She is self-employed in consulting and publishing, including starting the on-line lakewalesnews.net site. She is a past president of the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce, and has served on the boards of the Lake Wales Little Theater and Lake Wales Arts Council. She is a co-founder of the Rotary on the Ridge chapter, and former president of the Rotary Club of Lake Wales.

Other members include attorneys Sara Jones, Keith Wadsworth and Jim Weaver, along with local educational leader Andy Oguntola.

Jones, a life long city resident whose family dates back five generations in Lake Wales, is president of the Lincoln Community Development Corporation, and is secretary of the Green and Gold Foundation.

Oguntola is chairman of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Council, and a vice-chair for the Lake Wales Arts Council and Lake Wales Main Street. He is a member of the Lake Wales Charter Schools board of trustees, and is the Center Director of Polk State's JD Alexander Center in Lake Wales.

Wadsworth is the current chairman of the Lake Wales Charter Schools Foundation, and a former chairman of the charter school board of trustees. He also has served on the boards of the Lake Wales YMCA, Lake Wales Arts Center, Leadership Lake Wales, and Polk Museum of Art.

Weaver has served on the Polk County Charter Revision Committee, and is active in local groups including Rotary and Unity in Community. He is a past president for both the Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and on the executive committee of the Lake Wales Arts Council. He was named the Lake Wales Chamber's Citizen of the Year in 2019.

Editor's Note: An organizational meeting is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 24. Check the city's website at http://www.lakewalesfl.gov for meeting details and how to access it online.

 

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