Over the years, the city of Largo has had image issues. “Provincial” comes to mind. A disproportionate number of hicks is a less benign labeling. Now add “intolerant” to the short list of pejorative stereotypes.
Largo commissioners voted to fire City Manager Steve Stanton, 48, last week in the aftermath of his revelation that he will be undergoing a sex-change operation.
In the end, it didn’t matter that “Steve” Stanton, for all of his personal conflict and agony, had been a good enough city manager to keep for 14 years and had served well enough to warrant a 9 per cent pay hike (to $140,000) just last fall. What mattered was the transgendered “Susan” Stanton and how fundamentally icky that made a majority of commissioners and a lot of residents feel.
But the transcendent issue is this: When performance is not a factor in a firing, it’s cause for real concern. In fact, it’s an outrage worth having a come-to-Jesus meeting over.
Which brings us to the final point.
The rhetorical pitch-fork crowd was typified by this comment from Ron Sanders, pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church of Largo: “