EAGLE LAKE, Fla. – Several elected officials in Polk County are no longer in office after a controversial new Florida law that went into effect on Jan. 1.
Cory Coler is no longer the mayor of the city of Eagle Lake. He submitted his resignation on Dec. 14 and his final day in office was Friday, Dec. 29.
“As much as I love my city and I do and as I love being able to serve the community, it put me at an impasse because that’s information I share with my spouse. Not something I broadcast to my neighbors,” said Coler.
He’s referring to having to file “Form 6” which is a full disclosure of everything an elected official owns more than one-thousand dollars — something Coler calls invasive.
“Now people have information about you they didn’t have before, and they might look at you differently because of how much you make or how much you have in the bank which doesn’t affect the decision-making I do in a day in and day out basis that I do as a commissioner,” explained Coler.
Before this new bill went into effect, commissioners only had to fill out “Form One” which was a less detailed financial disclosure.
Coler says the city has to fill the mayor position within 60 days, but he believes it’ll be harder now than it was a year ago to find someone to step up and serve.
“When you’re talking about a city that’s 3,000 residents, there are not a lot of people willing to share up that information for people,” said Coler.
Coler has been the mayor since 2018 and hopes he can still make an impact on the city while out of office.
“If there’s an opportunity to have an opinion on something, I can speak on it,” said Coler. “That’s part of the beauty of Florida is that through cities and towns, we have that operation in the sunshine, and we have to have public hearings when we spend money.”
Eagle Lake City Commissioner Scott Clark also submitted his resignation, and in another city, Bartow City Commissioner Steve Githens did so as well.