LARGO - Outrage was still bubbling and boiling in Largo a week after Commissioner Pat Gerard’s obvious and outrageous abuse of power and conflict of interest in attempting to install a welfare program in the old library building.
Citizens were astounded at Gerard’s blatant attempt to foster a program at Largo city expense on behalf of private agency of which she is an officer.
While there were calls that she must go, she was busily informing the county’s only daily newspaper on Friday (news that the publication sat on for days) that she would be a candidate for mayor. That interrupted talk that had been circulating of finding a worthy candidate to run against her in March’s election for her commission seat.
As a result of the conflict of interest and work for the private agency at Largo’s expense, a complaint was filed against her with the Florida Ethics Commission.
Also being criticized is Alan Zimmet, the city’s lawyer who is paid more than $2,000 a week for part time work (plus the bonanza of $15,000 or more for his work with the Charter Review Committee), for his weak and weasely ruling that Gerard was not in a conflict of interest.
This brought derisive laughter from many Largo citizens who were appalled at such a bold attempt by Gerard to further her own interests at the expense of Largo taxpayers’ money.
It was made clear at last week’s meeting that Gerard and City Manager Steve Stanton had cooked up the deal to turn space in the old library building over to a welfare program. Zimmet does Stanton’s bidding, so ipso facto, the scenario was clear to those at the meeting and those who saw it on television.
In the meantime, there was talk – unofficial – that the city was attempting to buy the old Largo Hotel, an old building just west of the triangle in the Bay Drive-Missouri Avenue intersection.
The word is that Stanton wants to demolish the Feed Store now located in Central Park.
Stanton’s plan, one source said, is to raze the feed store and the parks maintenance area next to it and construct a parking garage on the site.
The Largo Historical Society, which meets at the Feed Store, would meet in the old Largo Hotel, which is the reason the city wants to buy it.
The Feed Store has a historical history and was moved to its present location from where it used to sit on the north side of West Bay, just east of the railroad tracks.
Stanton has scheduled a meeting with Elmer Williams, president of the Largo Historical Society, and presumably wants to seek support for his plan.
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