Mayor Bill Mutz Takes Office
New Leadership, Renewed Vision
In Issue 41, we interviewed newly elected Mayor Mutz as he stepped into the role eager to lead the city to a brighter future but prepared to pause at the beginning of his term, ready to listen and to see the real needs of the city.
Like everything in Bill Mutz’s life, deciding to run for mayor of Lakeland came down to two things: God, and Mutz’s wife, Pam. Several years ago, then-Mayor Howard Wiggs approached Mutz about running. Though Mutz had served the city for many years through non-profits, committees, CRAs, and other organizations, he had never considered running for a government position and had no interest in getting involved in politics. He relayed the encounter to Pam, who, about eight months later, came home from her devotion time and asked, “Are you praying about running for mayor at all?”
“No, I’m not praying about running for mayor at all,” replied Mutz.
“I just think you should,” said Pam, “because I’ve been praying about it, and I really think I’m fine with it if you want to run.”
With that, Mutz did start to pray about it, at least to open his heart to it, and once he did, he was able to be more receptive to the possibility. But doubts still remained, and Mutz decided that he wanted someone else to talk to about it. That encounter came shortly after, when he was invited to a lunch with some business people who came with a request: that he would think about running for mayor. With Pam and his friends in the business community supporting him, his candidacy was a done deal, and the campaign was underway.
“Having the support of people during the campaign, spending time campaigning across the city I already love, getting to love it even more in that process as I got to see neighborhoods whose problems and challenges are so different, and always have with it their champions — people who care, people who are world-changers in their own neighborhoods across the city — made me love it even further,” says Mutz.
In his office overlooking Lake Mirror, Mutz reflects on his first months as mayor. “For me, today, the fact that I can serve in this capacity and have the opportunity to help move the city to the next level is an unbelievable privilege… If you ask me what my biggest delight has been in it all, it has been that the quality of the people in the city, the effectiveness of processes — it’s well-run.”