Lake Worth City Manager Susan Stanton joins the likes of Sami Al-Arian, Terri Shiavo, and the 2000 Florida Recount as one of Creative Loafing's end-of- the-year winners: "Ten Biggest Stories of the Decade in Tampa Bay."
In 2007, Steve Stanton had been Largo town manager for 14 years. He found himself at the center of an uproar when the St. Pete Times reported he was planning sex reassignment surgery. Seems the Largo city commission was none too happy about the bait-and-switch.
During a four-hour meeting at Largo City Hall on February 27, 2007, 480 Largo residents showed up. 60 spoke for or against retaining Stanton as City Manager.
"His brain is the same today as it was last week," commissioner Gay Gentry commented. "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."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The commission voted 5-2 to place Stanton on administrative leave, and a month later, they fired him.
But we know the happy ending to that story: The city of Lake Worth hired Stanton, now Susan, as Lake Worth's city manager in April of 2009. In the intervening two years Stanton had applied for 100 jobs, lobbied congress on behalf of transgendered people for protections from employment discrimination, and appeared on Larry King Live and the Montel Williams show.
Stanton hasn't been immune from controversy in Lake Worth, either. She took quite a bit of flak this month when she published more than 40 unsigned emails from Lake Worth residents in her on-line city manager's report. Local activist Annabeth Karson was at the center of a heated debate after being hired as the city's census count coordinator (Karson's employment was terminated soon after). Critics argued that Karson, a vocal left-wing gadfly, was too overtly political -- she had helped coordinate the campaigns of several city commissioners.
Reached via email, Ms. Stanton declined to comment.