Staffopoulos Promotion Raises Question - Is CM Job in His Future?
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - There is no question about the competence that Mike Staffopoulos has shown first, as city engineer, and then as the Community Development Director in Largo.
But his elevation to assistant city manager as of Tuesday night has raised all sorts of speculation by close observers of what goes on at Largo City Hall.
City Manager put Staffopoulos forth for the promotion and it was approved - one could say automatically - by the City Commission.
Staffopoulos, who was city engineer at the time, become the Community Development boss when Steve Stanton, then city manager, fired Rick Goss four or five years ago.
Speculation rarely nails down fact but it is always interesting and is often the forerunner to hard news.
Why, observers wonder, is Staffopoulos being promoted to assistant city manager?
Consider - Stanton took his leave from the city (fired, actually) amidst controversy and a certain sleazy atmosphere of bizarre and abnormal sexual predilections and the City Commission had to get a replacement.
Mayor Pat Gerard, who conspired with Stanton to keep him in his job even though he would come to work attired as a woman (yes, no kidding), wanted to launch a "nationwide search" for a replacement. She was probably right.
But Commissioner Harriet Crozier urged, instead, that the commission appoint her close friend, Mac Craig, who was serving as an assistant city manager, to the post.
Henry Schubert, the other assistant city manager, clearly had the credentials and was certified as a city manager but was passed over. Craig, a retired Army man, who learned whatever he knows about running a city right here in Largo, got the nod.
Largo took no lessons from a neighboring city where another retired military type became city manager in a "learn as you earn" deal.
Craig is 70 years old. This is the age most places require retirement, not make available the beginning of a career. Go figure. Friendship and the buddy-buddy system is alive and strong in Largo.
There were two assistant city managers before Craig moved up. So one could argue that there is an opening.
Is Staffopoulos being promoted because he needs to be paid more money and is at the ceiling in his present job? Is there a move afoot to clear a path to the city manager's job for Staffapoulos a couple years down the line?
These are the questions being raised.
No adverse criticism of Staffopoulos is being heard because he has a sterling record from all accounts since he has been with the city.
Because he was passed over, it seems clear that Schubert has lost his chance to be CM in Largo.
Craig will move on before long.
Does that leave the way clear for Staffopoulos?
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