LARGO- Hundreds of local Largo citizens packed Largo City Hall on Tuesday evening to hear more of how the city commission would handle issues involving city manager Steve (soon to be Sue) Stanton.
Steve Stanton informed the city commission that he will become Sue Stanton by way of a sex change operation and hormone therapy that he is already taking. This news shocked several city commissioners and top city employees.
However, Stanton believed he should remain Largo's top executive officer regardless of the sex change operation. According to Stanton, "Gender has nothing to do with job performance."
Many Largo citizens disagreed with this opinion and City Commissioner Mary Black pushed for a special meeting to discuss how to deal with the city manager's sex change and his role, if any, in Largo government. Hundreds of e-mails and letters flooded Largo City Hall taking issue with the city manager's news; hence, Commissioner Black felt obligated to call a special meeting.
Other than the mayor of Largo, every other city commissioner either remained quiet regarding the issue or expressed an opinion for removal from office prior to the city meeting.
On Tuesday evening concerned citizens and elected representatives voiced opinions. And, as expected, opinions varied from prompt removal from office to retention of the city manager.
After listening to citizens who took one stand or another, the city commission discussed the issue of removing Steve (Sue) Stanton from his position as the city CEO. Again, opinions were polar and expressed concern about the future morale of Largo city employees, vendors and affiliates.
The city commission voted 5-2 for removal, Commissioner Rodney Woods and Mayor Pat Gerard were the only votes in support of keeping Stanton.
News about Steve Stanton gained national exposure as reports of a city manager changing his sex and desire to be known as Sue (not Steve). Stanton is married with a son.
According to Stanton, his decision to become a woman was long-coming. For the past many months Stanton dressed as a woman in places like Orlando, Atlanta and other large cities. Ironically, Stanton expressed his views on this sex change to the mayor months before it became public. Mayor Gerard remains fully supportive of Stanton and believes the sex change of the city manager is a non-issue for the City of Largo.
Not many citizens in Largo, however, agreed with the mayor. In fact, there were citizens at the Tuesday evening meeting stating that the mayor would be remembered in the next city re-election.
With all of the many outstanding issues for elected officials in Largo to resolve, the breaking news of a sex change for the city manager likely rekindled the many differences of opinion by city officials.
What is next?
Largo appointed an interim city manager while they search for a new city manager.
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