LARGO - A Largo man who has a long history of service with the city demanded in a communication to the Largo City Commission Friday that Alan Zimmet, the City Attorney, be fired.
Chester Rowe, who has served on various boards and committees and most recently on the Charter Review Committee, wrote in his letter, ". . . it is very clear to me (and others) that it is time to cancel Mr. Zimmet's contract immediately. . ."
Rowe also called for an investigation into other aspects of city operations. "Based on the manipulations of (former City Manager Steve Stanton) and the obvious involvement of many of the city administration and top level employees, I believe that a thorough investigation should be initiated by the City Commission . . . and let the chips fall where they may, and then take appropriate action," he wrote.
Citing his 20 years of service on committees and boards, Rowe said he felt he "must make (his) feelings known to you all."
Rowe particularly mentioned his service on the Charter Review Commission where he raised procedural questions at the time that were brushed off.
Once the committee had completed its work, Rowe said, "I was very much upset by the actions of the mayor and City Commission for their blatant disregard for the input and recommendations of the committee."
At the time, many observers wondered what was the point of the review group if its suggestions could be ignored by the commission. It seemed an exercise in make work. Designed to give community input, the review committee substantially was a waste of time.
Rowe said that at the outset of the CRC's work he made fellow members aware of information from a review exercise in 1973 which "indicated that the presence of the City Attorney was in direct conflict of interest and therefore our committee should have been afforded independent counsel."
He went on to write in his letter last Friday, "When I questioned the presence of the City Attorney and also the wife of an assistant city manager, I was told by (Zimmet) that everything is legal. Therefore I didn't press the issue, (but) I should have."
Obviously referring to the turmoil caused by the aberrations of Stanton, who was fired March 23, Rowe wrote, " . . . in this turbulent and trying time for the city administration, I believe it has become abundantly clear that the City Commission must right itself and make the necessary charter revisions that would inevitably give the power of making proper decisions back to the commission and preclude the influence of some outsiders with a personal agenda."
The addition of a new web site put up by interested Largo citizens has made obvious the concern of residents for the city's future. In fact, the website is called "largofuture."
There is a strong movement among some influential citizens to make charter changes, drastic changes in the contract for the City Manager, and for the City Attorney to be a full time city employee under the supervision of the commission. The Charter right now does not even refer to a City Attorney but information pertaining to the position is called "Legal Services."
At the City Commission meeting April 10, Commissioner Gigi Arntzen requested that Charter changes be scheduled for a work shop meeting in the near future.
Since Stanton's departure almost four weeks ago, Mac Craig has been serving as interim City Manager.