Looking back on Lakeland’s city commissioners

Meet some of the Lakeland citizens who left a mark on Swan City’s government.

LALtoday: City hall interior

Inside City Hall

Photo by @lakelandgov

Table of Contents

Recently, we asked you to share city commissioners who made a difference. Between your suggestions and our research, here are five city commissioners to remember.

Note: Lakeland operates under a weak mayor system of government, meaning the mayor is a regular voting member of the city commission with little to no legal privileges that distinguish them from other commissioners. Some members on this list served as mayors, and you can learn about mayors from 1971-present day here.

City commissioners

Lois Q. Searl | 1964-1970
In 1964, Lois Quinn Searl was the first woman to be elected to the Lakeland City Commission. She became the first female mayor in Florida to a city of over 50,000 residents in 1965. Searl served on the city commission for six years, focusing on transparency in city finances. As a result, she won the Jaycee’s Good Government Award.

Dr. John S. Jackson | 1968-1975
Before becoming Lakeland’s first internally-elected Black mayor in 1972, Dr. Jackson was Lakeland’s first Black surgeon and city commissioner. Jackson is remembered as a calm individual, passionate about standing up against discrimination.

Carrie Oldham | 1977-1986
After three years on the city commission, Carrie R. Oldham became Lakeland’s first Black female mayor in 1980. Additionally, she was an educator, administrator, and district official with Polk County Public Schools.

Justin Troller | 2007-2020
In his 12 years in office, Justin Troller was known for recognizing city employees, advocating for Lakeland Electric, and lauding Cleveland Heights Golf Course as Lakeland’s “jewel.”

Scott Franklin | 2018-2021
Now serving as Congressman for Florida’s 15th Congressional District, Scott Franklin once sat on Lakeland’s city commission and served as Mayor Pro Tem. Prior to that, he was involved in the Lakeland Economic Development Council, Lakeland Rotary Club, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and more.

More from LALtoday