Largo City Manager's job on the line by Mitch E. Perry02/27/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Less than a week after Largo’s City Manager, Steve Stanton, went public with his goal to have a sex change operation, the 14 year employee may lose his job.
At this hour, the 7 member Largo City Commision is holding a special meeting to debate Stanton’s future.
Yesterday Commissioner Mary Gray Black introduced a resolution that calls for firing Stanton. The St. Petersburg Times reported today that 3 other Commissioners also want to fire Stanton. Largo’s City Charter requires 5 votes to fire the City Manager.
The crowd is expected to be overflowing at Largo’s City Hall.
There will be plenty of supporters and opponents of Steve Stanton at the meeting.
Brian Winfield is with the LGBT group Equality Florida. He is encouraging as many people as possible to speak in support of Stanton – but not just for Stanton ..He says if the Largo City Commision votes to terminate him, it’s a case of employment discrimination, pure and simple (roll tape#1 o.q.”turmoil in the city”)
The senior pastor at the 1st Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, Charlie Martin said he is encouraging his parishioners to attend tonight’s meeting. He told the St. Petersburg Times that Stanton’s continued employment “ will be devastating to Largo's reputation and future business interests”. WMNF attempted to speak to Pastor Martin today. He did not return our phone calls. When the Times broke the story about Steve Stanton’s announcement that he will undergo a sex change operation later this year, initial comments from Largo leaders were supportive of the 14 year City Manager. But as public opinion appears to be weighing against the City keeping Stanton on, some City Commissioners support has faded. But Brian Winfield from Equality Florida says it’s only in the last few days that a concentrated opposition has manifested to Largo leaders (roll tape#2 o.q.”opposition to it”) To have one’s life dissected so personally in a public forum is something that nobody could possibly look forward to (roll tape#3 o.q.” it’ll be a nightmare”)
Brandon hypotherapist Jean Batronie is a transgendered female who had a sex change operation in 2002. (roll tape#4 o.q.”what the heck’s the big deal”)
Batronie, who ran for a Hillsborough County Commission seat in 2004, says she the resolution being offered by Commissioner Mary Gray Black reminds her of a former Hillsborough Commissioner (roll tape#5 o.q.”Ronda Storms”) And again, that public meeting regarding the employment status of Largo City Manager Steve Stanton is taking place right now.