LARGO – A mass exodus of key, high ranking employees is occurring in Largo and there is no clear reason why.
Fleeing a sinking ship? Opportunities abounding in other areas? Top staffers being forced out?
One long term observer of city affairs, who prefers to remain anonymous, says the city “is in disarray, in crisis.”
Lack of leadership is the problem, this source says, and lays the problem at the doorstep of the City Commission.
The parade of people going out the door includes key staff members and leaders.
Carol Stricklin, an expert in community development, who has shown a high level of professionalism and brilliance, is leaving.
Todd Bosso, the city engineer, is departing.
Chris Kubala, the public works director, is leaving next March (amid speculation that he is being forced out, as others before him were).
A division fire chief is also departing, the latest in a string of leavetakings that have virtually gutted the fire department.
What is needed, the source said, is candidates to come forward in next March’s election. “The situation needs to be straightened out,” the source said.
Largo has already established itself as the city that does not follow the rule of law, based on the election irregularities that took place earlier this year.
The only member of the commission who shows any detailed knowledge of the city’s charter and procedures is Mary Black and she is routinely assailed by some of her colleagues for this.
The “Stanton gang” – Pat Gerard, Gay Gentry and Harriet Crozier – so named because of their affiliation and undying support of Steve Stanton, the city manager, lend to the disarray.
Andy Guyette, newest member of the group, wouldn’t take a position if he had a gun at his head. He is excellent at pointing out a typo in the minutes, or upbraiding a fellow commission member when that seems to be popular, but leadership? The word is not in his vocabulary.
Nepotism exists in the city, cronies get favorable treatment, nothing is done about the $10,600 a week drain of taxpayer funds in supporting the Cultural Center, a white elephant.
“I don’t blame the staff so much for what is happening,” the source said. “It is clearly the commission’s responsibility and there is just no leadership there.”
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