In the next 90 days, Interim City Manager Tony Delgado should focus on communicating the awesomeness of Lakeland to residents, the importance of customer service to city employees and one-on-one with his bosses. He should also focus on increasing productivity and efficiency.

That was the consensus of city commissioners who filled out anonymous surveys in preparation for a priority-setting exercise led by Florida Southern College business professor Larry Ross on Monday.

Commissioners’ top priorities for Delgado in the next three months were grouped into the areas of communication, productivity, taking charge, and monitoring the renovation of Joker Marchant Stadium.

Commissioners also named priorities for the next quarter, the second half of the year and the future. Here’s a compilation of the priorities that emerged from the survey:

Delgado told commissioners he plans to get out into the community more than his predecessor, Doug Thomas, did and that he plans to let his deputy administrator and department heads handle more of the day-to-day decisions.

Ross ended the session with two suggestions:

  • If customer service is the city’s top priority, each meeting should begin with a customer service message.
  • Learn from the customer-service focus of Tax Collector Joe Tedder. For Tedder and his staff, Ross said, “Continuous improvement is massive but it becomes part of the everyday. They monitor; they measure; they survey. They try to be better at what they do than they were. He’s a resource you should take advantage of.” 

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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