Lakeland voters may be asked the change to city's form of government.
The city currently has a "weak mayor" form of government. Under this form of government, the mayor is one of seven city commissioners and has largely ceremonial duties. The city manager is the chief executive who runs city government at the direction of the city commission.
Some business leaders would like the city to have a "strong mayor" form of government, where the mayor is the chief executive. Some elected leaders also favor the move.
"Over time, Lakeland has changed dramatically," said Mayor Howard Wiggs, who favors the change. "Very simplistic. Bring people together to get things done. A strong mayor can do that I believe."
Wiggs cites the mayors of Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg, who he believes are able to make their cities more responsive and dynamic.
But the idea is far from a universal slam dunk with Lakeland government or the business community.
"I'm against it," said businessman Lakeland Bill Mutz. "A city manager provides us with the continuity and absence of vulnerability to knee-jerk reactions that might be made otherwise."
Mutz said he believes Lakeland has been served well by its form of government.
He cites Lakeland Electric as one reason not to change things. He contends the city-owned utility requires long term planning not affected by the potential politics of an elected mayor who would actually run city government.
City commissioners may decide in the next couple of months whether to put the issue to voters. Supporters of the idea may also try a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot.