Lakeland Mayor-elect Howard Wiggs
Lakeland, FL -- City commissioner Howard Wiggs celebrated with voters after learning he will be the next mayor of Lakeland.
Wiggs edged out incumbent Gow Fields by a mere four percent.
"I think that folks are realizing that we are having some pretty significant problems in Lakeland," said Wiggs.
The recent sex scandal and ongoing problems within Chief Lisa Womack's Police Department may have decided the outcome of the race.
"If you have that significant of a problem, I think you need to move on," said Wiggs. "I think that's where we need to start we need new leadership in the police department."
In a weak mayor government system, Wiggs will not directly have the authority to fire Womack when he takes office in January... but he does have power over the person's job who can.
"As far as city manager, it's going to depend on if Doug can change his management style a bit," said Wiggs.
Part of changing his management style, Wiggs explained, is making tough personnel changes and eliminating problems in the police department.
"Many many police officers have contacted me. They have stopped me in the street and they've said, 'If Chief Womack is here in a year, then I don't want to be here,'" said Wiggs.
Wiggs said that this is a chance for the community to heal and become the city he knows it can be.
"Work with me. I'm a guy that believes in building consensus," said Wiggs. "If we're going to become a great city, it will be because all of us have worked together to get there."
Wiggs plans to meet with other city commissioners to work on plans that will move the city forward.