Fla. City Official: Work Style, Not Lifestyle, Led To Firing City Manager Seeking Sex Change

Sunday, March 25th 2007, 2:21 pm

By: News On 6

LARGO, Fla. (AP) _ One of the five commissioners who voted to fire a city manager who is seeking a sex-change operation said his management style, not lifestyle, led to the dismissal.

Commissioner Gay Gentry said City Manager Steve Stanton was a ``hard-nosed, my-way-or-the-highway'' boss who expected more understanding of his personal situation than he showed to some of his roughly 1,200 employees in 14 years as the city's top official.

``Suddenly the rules were changing and he was asking to be dealt with in a different way than he was dealing with people,'' Gentry said.

Commissioners voted 5-2 early Saturday to fire Stanton from his $140,000-a-year job in the city of 76,000 west of Tampa. Stanton was forced last month to reveal he was a transsexual and planned to live as a woman and eventually pursue a sex-change operation.

Stanton defended the employment decisions he made, including firing a public works employee who stayed home with his elderly mother when a hurricane was approaching.

``Every one of those employment decisions were correct and proper,'' Stanton said.

Stanton and his attorney said the commissions' two votes to fire him in the last month are discriminatory, but have not said if he will sue. His employment contract says he can be fired without cause at any time.

Stanton, 48, said he plans to concentrate on the transition from life as a man to life as a woman and will begin the process of legally changing his name to Susan. He said the cause of transsexual rights was advanced by the attention surrounding his fight to keep his job.

``This is not about Steve keeping his job exclusively. It was about supplying information and education about something that people just don't understand,'' Stanton said.

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