Where they stood

Five commissioners who voted Tuesday to begin the process to fire Largo City Manager Steve Stanton questioned his judgment and professionalism. The two who supported him suggested other motives were at work.

Published March 1, 2007

Commissioner Gigi Arntzen
"I have to question your judgment in past decisions when employees were terminated for improper conduct or conduct inappropriate for city employees, yet you considered your conduct above reproach. Your personal life choice and the distraction it has created, and will continue to create, must not be a deterrent to the superior service we expect our employees to give our residents."

Commissioner Mary Gray Black
"Three, two years ago, when I prepared the first evaluation of Mr. Stanton, I stated that integrity and trust had to be earned. Last year, I remarked that it had improved some and that I felt that he was doing a little bit better job and I gave him a little bit higher rating. But in the ensuing year, I have lost that little bit of confidence that I had. I do not feel that he has the integrity, nor the trust, nor the respect, nor the competence to continue as the city manager for the city of Largo."

Commissioner Andy Guyette
"After Sunday's article, when I read about his circle of friends, I looked back in time to see certain key events that had occurred in the past several years, and I now feel I no longer can trust his judgment. I feel that in the past few years I think he has compromised some of his decisions, his judgments, for his goals vs. the betterment of the city."

Commissioner Gay Gentry
"This is about applying the rules and regulations of an organization equally to each individual from the corner office of the top down to the seasonal worker. This is about a leader asking of himself exactly what he asks of others."I have very serious concerns about the damage to the staff, their pride, their passion and their commitment, and it's not because of the nature of this event but because of the inconsistency of this event and actions of the past."

Mayor Pat Gerard
"This is not a popularity contest, and I believe we have the future of this city in our hands tonight, I do, and I probably disagree with some of you what that future ought to be. I don't think it should be 1950. They say that Largo's not ready for this. Last March, this city elected their first female mayor in 100 years of our history and our first African-American commissioner in 100 years. I think we're ready. I, for one, stand by my city manager - I know you knew I was going to say that - who's demonstrated unbending loyalty to this city for 17 years, 14 of them as city manager, where he's done an exemplary job."

Vice Mayor Harriet Crozier
“You did not know how to balance the importance of your family and your job. You and only you had the ability to control everything in a strong, professional manner and instead you let your selfishness get in the way.”

Commissioner Rodney Woods
“I’m having great difficulty just accepting that we’re going to terminate the city manager just because of some lack of professionalism, and … you mean that just came to your mind in the last three weeks? … Tonight has a lot to do with me continuing being the person that I know I am, and that’s one who’s all-inclusive of everybody. I heard very (few) people get up here tonight and speak about professionalism. I heard people’s beliefs and opinions and that’s okay, that’s fine, you’re entitled to those. I’ll make it short, for those reasons, and I hope I’ve articulated what’s in my heart. I just cannot support this resolution. I just cannot.”