LARGO - Why would a 45-year-old man, making $100,000 a year, holding a prestigious and important job that seemed to have a long future resign for what has officially been termed a trivial offense?
Jeff Bullock, who leaves as Largo's fire chief May 23, says in his letter of resignation the reason is to "spend more time with his family."
This reason has become a cliche that inspires mirth and hilarity in most people.
That is, given the circumstances, folks just don't believe that tune.
Bullock's "spend more time with my family" theme was preceded by the words "I have an opportunity that will allow . . ."
Pretty ambiguous. Being given the heave-ho from a high paying job certainly offers an opportunity for making quality time available.
And retirement with a hefty check coming in each month can be enticing.
According to a city official, Bullock's pension will have to be calculated in that formula those kinds of things are subject to, but in simple terms Bullock is going to get about 85 percent of his highest three years of average final compensation.
So, $85,000 or so a year from the taxpayers of Largo to a fellow who is not doing any work for that moolah is a very nice package. A chap could afford one of those luxury rocking chairs for that kind of money.
Actually, it is not known what prompted Bullock's resignation.
Charges were alleged about some kind of purchases made by Bullock and Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert did an investigation.
His report recites a detailed and complicated set of circumstances that, when carefully analyzed, shows that any wrongdoing by Bullock was a minor slip, a triviality.
Because of that, Schubert assessed a one-day suspension but, in view of the fact that Bullock was resigning, that was wiped out.
After some pressing questions, Schubert said that yet another investigation is underway by Human Resources "regarding accusations not addressed in any of the investigations to date."
That matter is confidential until a report is forthcoming.
In the meantime, there are other questions -
Why wasn't the Bullock resignation announced at the City Commission meeting last week? He resigned on the previous Sunday (April 29) and Schubert's report of his investigation is dated May 1.
So, obviously, Bullock and somebody talked about the fruits of the report before Schubert put a date on it.
Bullock occupied one of the higher ranking - department head - positions in the city. He was up in front of the commission every time a firefighter got a reward or was hired or whatever.
But the news of his departure could not have been announced? Why was the commission not officially informed? Why?
In queries to Mac Craig, the acting city manager, which were answered on May 1 why did not his response include the fact that Bullock had resigned?
The buzz grows louder in the city. More questions so far than real answers.
The feeling is that there is more to this story than has been divulged so far.
One big question - was Bullock allowed to resign to preserve reputation and pension benefits?