LARGO - Those who watch developments in Largo are still mystified at the strange departure of Jeff Bullock, chief of fire and rescue.
"It just doesn't seem to make sense," said one high official who, for obvious reasons, asked not to be identified. This official had no connection with Bullock and was not involved in the youthful chief's departure.
Still being asked are the questions - Why would a 45-year-old man, making $100,000 a year, holding a prestigious and important job and who seemed to have a long future resign for what has officially been termed a trivial offense?
The reason Bullock gave in his letter of resignation the reason is to "spend more time with his family." That got more knowing smiles around Largo than satisfaction of knowing true information. In short, it is not believed.
Whether it is believable or not, retirement offers Bullock some tasty advantages. He will probably wind up with $85,000 or so in pension payments and will be perfectly free to hire on someplace else in a high-paying fire department or public safety job.
Charges were alleged against Bullock, and with the last of three investigations having been completed, there is nothing on the record to show that Bullock committed any offense of a serious nature.
So, the question lies out there, why resign over a triviality?
The nature of our society in the history of the past 35 years suggests "cover up," and this hasn't been ruled out in some Largonians thinking.
The charges, that involved the purchase of some items, were investigated under the direction of Henry Schubert, the assistant city manager.
Schubert's report lays out a detailed set of facts that show that if there were any wrongdoing by Bullock it was of a minor nature. That is what Schubert's report says.
Then there was a second set of charges that came under investigation by the Human Resources Department.
Its report was obtained last week after being requested.
Susan Sinz, who heads up the Human Resources Department, said that Pat Saben, assistant director of Human Resources, looked into two allegations involving Bullock, the first of which was that there had been a violation in the city's discrimination and harassment policy (long before Bullock became chief) and the second was that there had been a similar incident eight years ago.
Saben's investigation of both charges found that the accusations were not sustained with insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations.
Rumors of something that Bullock had engaged in were never addressed by city officials, so the whole Bullock affair is now history.
In the meantime, though, certain questions persist -
Why wasn't the Bullock resignation announced at the City Commission meeting May 1 when it was first known?
There is never any hesitation to garner publicity at commission meetings by fire department and police appointments and promotions, but it seemed silence reigned on Bullock's departure that, at the time, sent shock waves through the city.
Why was the City Commission not officially informed of Bullock's resignation?
Questions to Mac Craig, acting city manager, were being hurled against what seemed to be a wall of silence and even when Craig responded on May 1 he did not mention the Bullock resignation although it was known at the time in city hall.
The biggest question of all, of course, and no correct answer is ever expected to be forthcoming, was Bullock allowed to resign to preserve his reputation and pension benefits?