Largo Commission Picks Craig to Be Full-Time City Manager
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - After some fits and starts and a return to square one after the issue had been apparently decided, the City Commission Tuesday evening chose Mac Craig to be the city manager.
Craig has been the acting manager since Steve Stanton, who decided he wanted to wear women's clothing, left the job.
Back in early May the initial discussion on who would succeed Stanton, who has brought unfavorable publicity to Largo, largely through erroneous reporting on why he was dismissed as city manager, first came up.
Susan Sinz, the Human Resources director, proposed to the commission that the staff was ready to launch a search for applicants for the manager job that would cost the city $20,000 to $30,000.
Commissioner Harriet Crozier virtually terminated that idea and consequent expense with the idea of hiring Craig on a two-year contract.
Her colleagues joined her in that idea with Mary Black chipping in the idea of including the assistant city manager, Henry Schubert, as one of the candidates.
Only Mayor Pat Gerard held out for a "nationwide" search for a city manager. Gerard was part of a cabal of city officials who knew well in advance of Stanton's decision that led to so much upset in the city.
In having that knowledge and not informing the commission, Gerard appears to have violated the city Charter. Nothing has been done about that break of what is basically the city's constitution.
With that decision firmly in hand, the commission decided to hear from both candidates - Craig and Schubert - in a meeting where each would take an hour to address the commission and outline their qualifications.
The next chapter came at the June 26 meeting when Gerard managed to get the subject back to square one.
She claimed that an unidentified telephone caller had told her that there was great sentiment for a nationwide search.
Commissioners, abjuring the decision they had already made in May, agreed to another discussion on how to proceed on selecting a manager.
Gerard said that she wanted to make sure that all the commissioners were on board with the idea of promoting from within. Apparently she thought that their determination and decision in May was lacking some intelligence.
That discussion dragged on for an hour last week - July 3 - before coming up with the apparently final decision of meeting this week to make a choice.
Thrust aside was the two-hour meeting in which Craig and Schubert would have addressed the commission.
Craig is a retired military man and has never worked in the private sector. It is not known if he is a member of the International City Managers Association, a key qualification for manager, because of its high professional standards.
Any experience for the city manager job Craig has been received, apparently, in on the job training.
Schubert has been a city employee for many years and at one time served as city clerk.
Most alarming at Tuesday's meeting was a decision to move forward on a memorial to Martin Luther King that would cost $60,000.
Only Commissioner Mary Black opposed the project.
No responsible person in Largo seems to know why this is being undertaken except to pay lip service to a historical figure who had no connection whatsoever with Largo.
A final vote on that matter will be taken at the next regular meeting, next Tuesday. There are indications that there will a strong outcry against the $60,000 expenditure by citizens who are now just becoming aware of this latest boondoggle.
The King matter started out with the commission authorizing $15,000 for a small memorial. That ballooned to $250,000 by the former city manager who was facing a crucial vote on his future.
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