LARGO - On February 27, about one week after he was forced to make the announcement that he is a transsexual planning gender reassignment surgery, Largo's city manager of 14 years, Steve Stanton, learned that the Largo city commission approved a resolution to terminate his employment in a 5-2 vote.
Stanton's salary is $140,234 annually and he has been put on paid leave. He is married with one son.
Through a March 8 letter from his attorney, Karen M. Doering the senior counsel for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, legal advocacy group for gay and transgender people, Stanton filed a notice of appeal and requested a public hearing be held before termination proceedings begin. Doering wanted the hearing to be held Thursday, April 5, as other dates would conflict with her schedule.
Per the city charter, the public hearing would need to be conducted within 15 to 30 days after the city received the request for the hearing.
At Largo's special meeting Tuesday March 13, the date for the appeal was set for March 23 in spite of Doering's date preference and a March 9 memo from assistant city manager Henry P. Schubert to the mayor and city commission stating that he, the acting city manager and the city attorney recommended the public hearing be scheduled for April 9 based on the availability of the city commission and attorneys.
Commissioners decided against scheduling the hearing for April 9 because it is past the 30-day deadline that the city charter sets for holding the hearing.
If after the public hearing a commission vote of 5 or more is in favor of termination, Stanton will be fired and Largo will be in the national spotlight as transsexual advocacy groups and civil rights organizations debate the issues, demand rights for trans-gendered people and encourage Stanton to pursue legal recourse.