tampabay.com

Stanton went to seminars as 'Susan'

By LORRI HELFAND
Published March 3, 2007


Wearing a woman's business suit and a "Susan" name tag, City Manager Steve Stanton attended at a least two sessions at a National League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C., last March.

City Commissioner Andy Guyette, who also went to the conference, didn't see Stanton while the city manager was dressed as a woman. But he said Stanton's behavior at the conference is one reason he no longer trusts Stanton to run Largo City Hall.

Guyette said he doesn't care that Stanton wants to be a woman, but he does care that Stanton misrepresented himself on the city's dime.

Stanton said that what he was doing was appropriate for the process of making a transition to a woman.

"It's part of the medical protocol to become comfortable with your own gender," Stanton said.

Guyette said he didn't bring up the trip during Tuesday's meeting because "it was an ugly scene, and I didn't want it to get worse." But he said he needed to speak up because people have been unfairly condemning the commission for being intolerant.

He said he couldn't find Stanton at the conference the first few days. He and Stanton met for dinner after Guyette contacted the city to track him down.

Guyette said he didn't learn about Stanton's behavior at the conference until last week. He said Stanton told him that he had attended some of the sessions dressed as a woman and was sitting next to him.

Stanton said Friday that he was dressed as a woman for a couple of seminars but did not sit next to Guyette.

Stanton said that while dressed as Susan, he was unrecognizable and did not represent himself as a Largo employee.

Guyette said his trust was betrayed.

"He's been living a lie," he said.