This from the St. Petersburg Times May 3, 2007:

SARASOTA – In a professional victory for the woman Steve Stanton hopes to become, the Sarasota City Commission on Wednesday unanimously selected “Susan Stanton” as one of 11 job finalists for city manager.

Stanton, who applied for the job under the name he plans to assume later this month, was one of only three finalists selected by all five commissioners.

That unanimity is expected to help Stanton become one of four to six finalists commissioners will interview privately and publicly May 29 and 30.

Stanton, who served as Largo’s city manager for 14 years, was fired from that job in March, a month after revealing his plans to become a woman. He commended Sarasota’s leaders for keeping his application in the running and not using the excuse of national media attention to weed it out.

“It certainly shows they’re sincerely interested in evaluating my credentials and my experience,” said Stanton, 48.

Largo commissioners, some of whom voted to fire him, said they were pleased Sarasota looked past the gender issue to consider Stanton.

“That means that they’re open, and that’s a good thing,” said Largo Commissioner Andy Guyette, who was among the five commissioners who voted to fire Stanton. Guyette said he would have voted to keep Stanton, but he felt Stanton gave preferential treatment to subordinates whom he told about his plans to become a woman.

Largo Mayor Pat Gerard, who opposed Stanton’s firing, said it was obvious that Sarasota commissioners focused on Stanton’s qualifications.

“He’s got a lot of talent, and I hope he shares it with some other community,” she said.

During Wednesday’s meeting in Sarasota, city commissioners and the city’s headhunter largely sidestepped the issue of Stanton’s upcoming transition, instead focusing on Stanton’s experience.

Sarasota City Commissioner Ken Shelin said there were three things that he found attractive about Stanton: his long career as a city manager of Largo, his expertise in developing a strategic plan and his budget experience.

Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer noted that Stanton applied for the same job about 5 1/2 years ago and “was very good on paper” but that he eventually withdrew his name at the request of Largo commissioners.

Stanton is still living as a man, but he is undergoing hormone therapy and electrolysis to remove facial and body hair and has filed court papers to legally change his name to Susan Ashley Stanton.

His sandy hair has grown long and is starting to curl, and his body and mannerisms look more feminine.

He will start living as a woman later this month and interview for the Sarasota job as Susan. Eventually he plans to have gender reassignment surgery.

Tom Freijo, senior vice president for Mercer Group, the firm that conducted the job search, told commissioners he had done consulting work for Largo and had an opportunity to see Stanton interact with staff. He described Stanton as someone with “outstanding city manager skills.” He also mentioned the national publicity Stanton had received.

Freijo said he plans to do in-depth background checks on all finalists and trim the list to four to six candidates for the late May interviews. Commissioners plan to pick a new manager May 30.

Sarasota, which has a population of about 55,000, is a wealthier community than mostly working class Largo, with 76,000 residents.

Sarasota boasts cultural amenities like the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The city has 780 full-time employees and a budget of $187-million.

In Largo, Stanton oversaw about 1,000 full- and part-time employees and a budget of about $130-million. Stanton, who made $140,234 annually in Largo, indicated he would expect a Sarasota salary of $150,000 to $160,000.

Stanton’s competition includes two other candidates approved by all commissioners:

Robert Bartolotta resigned his job as town manager of Jupiter in 2004 to care for his terminally ill wife, who has passed away. Jupiter, a town of 45,000, had 400 town employees.

Patrick Salerno serves as city manager of Sunrise, which has a population of 90,000. He oversees about 1,300 employees and a budget of $380-million.

Other finalists include city managers, an assistant city manager and a deputy chief administrative officer.

Stanton lost his job March 24. But last month, after it was discovered Stanton had removed some files from his city laptop before turning it over, officials asked him to turn in the devices used to store the files to make sure no public records were removed. He did so last week. Preliminary inspection suggests the majority of removed files were personal in nature.

The original article is here: http://www.sptimes.com/2007/05/03/Tampabay/Stanton_picked_as_fin.shtml

Tune in and watch Steve LIVE! nve00284.jpg

NCLR announces that Steve Stanton and Karen Doering will appear on Larry King Live tonight, Thursday, April 12.

Following an impressive line-up of experts and the words of NCLR Senior Couynsel Karen Doering, Stanton speaks to the Largo City Commission before public comment and their subsequent vote on March 23, 2007. Click on the picture here We Lost Ourselves in Largo to watch it.

Jim Hunt“I have been following the events in Largo and I fully support the efforts of City Manager Steve Stanton to continue in the profession that he has dedicated much of his life. I have found that by opening a community conversation, we provide the opportunity for growth and building a stronger community. I learn each day how far we are from a truly inclusive country. I am hopeful that this experience is one that we will look back on as a pivotal moment for the transgender community. I personally learn a great deal each day and appreciate the struggles that many in our country face []. I applaud Steve Stanton’s courage.”

As I have continued on the journey to build a more inclusive country, I am amazed at the fear that exists in people. We seem to want to return to an era in America that in many ways never existed. The white picket fences and neat little houses disguised a frightening reality for many. Sadly, many don’t want to sit at the table and discuss these very real issues. While the Steve Stanton case could have been an opportunity for community growth and maturity, it was seized upon by community fear.”

“I have a very real belief that community is the answer and that the Steve Stanton case is a signpost along the road to greater understanding. I trust that this is the beginning of a journey and not the end of a career.”

Please visit SteveStanton.Com for more information about Past President Hunt and Steve Stanton’s Fight For Equality

The only way we can judge someone, is by his accomplishments, this
person, for years has performed a great job.

His only so called “guilt” is to have “guts” to come out to
everybody, about a pain, that has hounted him for most of his life.

What about if in this comission of seven, there is someone who is
also from the GLBT section of the population, he/she is scared to
death to come out, now knows, what would happen to her/him.

Crucifying her, is like going back in time, we are progressive
country, why have we make a step backwards?????

Think again what you could be facing also even if you don’t belong
to the GLBT group, but to any other section of the population, may
it be caucausian, african american, latin, asian, etc. you could be
int the same place, and then what?????

For the justice for all, be right, don’t let be influenced by
sectarism of a few, that could conduct to the desintegration of a
great country and it’s people.

Thanks for your attentions. Tatianna

SHOWDOWN TODAY IN LARGO

March 23, 2007

Today, Friday, March 23, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. in Largo, Florida, City Manager Steve Stanton will appear before the Largo City Commission in an Attempt to Keep His Job. Please renew your contact efforts today and tell the Largo City Commission that you support Steve Stanton and that you believe that gender discrimination is wrong. Visit this link here if you want to know what you can do to help the cause.