Turns out that Steve Stanton, the city manager for Largo, FL, will NOT be one of the first public officials anywhere to undergo gender-reassignment surgery while in office.
Not because he's giving up on the surgery. But because he was fired last night.
City commissioners voted to fire Stanton after 14 his years of public service. It's not a question of competency, they said, but one of his standing in the city:
"His brain is the same today as it was last week," Commissioner Gay Gentry said. "He may be even able to be a better city manager. But I sense that he's lost his standing as a leader among the employees of the city."
That seems like a hard pill to swallow: He might become an even better manager for the city, but you're going to fire him anyway?
It wasn't a unanimous vote. Five commissioners supported the ouster, but the Largo Mayor Pat Gerard and one commission member voted to keep Stanton on board.
"I'm going to be embarrassed if we throw this man out on the trash heap after he's worked so hard for the city," Gerard said before the vote. "We have a choice to make: We can go back to intolerance, or we can be the city of progress."
For his part, Stanton seemed (understandably) hurt by the decision, but not very angry:
"It's just real painful to know that seven days ago I was a good guy and now I have no integrity, I have no trust and most painful, I have no followers," Stanton said.
But he also indicated he does not plan to sue the city.
"In so many ways I am Largo," Stanton told commissioners. "It's like suing my mother."