The Co-Knuckleheads of the Day award Part Two
Today's second winners are five members of the Largo Florida City Council. They are Gay Gentry, Mary Gray Black, Andy Guyette, Gigi Arntzen, and Harriet K. Crozier. They get the award for the following.
LARGO - City commissioners ended one of the most tumultuous weeks in Largo history Tuesday night by moving to fire City Manager Steve Stanton following his disclosure that he will have a sex-change operation.I blogged about the Stanton story before. My opinion hasn't changed, I admire his bravery and wish Steve Stanton well.
A total of 480 people packed City Hall for a four-hour meeting during which one activist was arrested after police told her not to hand out fliers.
After listening to about 60 speakers, mostly from Largo, a majority of commissioners said they had lost confidence in Stanton's ability to lead.
"His brain is the same today as it was last week," Commissioner Gay Gentry said. "He may be even able to be a better city manager. But I sense that he's lost his standing as a leader among the employees of the city."
Commissioners voted 5-2, with Mayor Pat Gerard and Commissioner Rodney Woods in dissent, to place Stanton on paid leave while his departure is made final.
"I'm going to be embarrassed if we throw this man out on the trash heap after he's worked so hard for the city," Gerard said before the vote. "We have a choice to make: We can go back to intolerance, or we can be the city of progress."
Woods chastised fellow commissioners, saying he had a hard time accepting that they didn't consider Stanton's recent choice to become a woman when they decided he was unfit to lead.
After the vote, Stanton, 48, left the meeting without comment. Later, he told the St. Petersburg Times that the "commission did what they felt was best for the community."
But, he said, commissioners voted before getting a full understanding of what a transsexual must confront when this kind of secret is disclosed.
During the meeting, Stanton described the dismay of watching his professional reputation disintegrate in just seven days.
Until last week, he had served 14 years as the city manager, generally to good reviews. Last fall, commissioners raised his salary nearly 9 percent to $140,234 a year.
But on Feb. 21, the Times reported that Stanton was undergoing hormone therapy in preparation for gender-reassignment surgery - a plan known only to a small circle of people, including his wife, medical team and a few top officials at City Hall.
Stanton and his friends had written an eight-page plan to help make his decision known in June, when he said his 13-year-old son could be out of town and shielded from the publicity.
Instead, the news came out before he told his son. Outraged residents swarmed commissioners, demanding he be ousted.
"It's just real painful to know that seven days ago I was a good guy and now I have no integrity, I have no trust and most painful, I have no followers," Stanton said.
But he also indicated he does not plan to sue the city.
"In so many ways I am Largo," Stanton told commissioners. "It's like suing my mother."
As for those five commissioners, they are disgraces. The only reason for Stanton's firing is his transsexualism. What a bunch of cowardly bastards these people are. Screw public opinion, which knows little about gender issues to start with, what was done here is absolutely wrong. They aren't half the person Stanton is and for their cowardly stupidity, I make Gay Gentry, Mary Gray Black, Andy Guyette, Gigi Arntzen, and Harriet K. Crozier the second Knucklead winners of the Day.
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