(St. Petersburg, FL, March 8, 2007) — Steve Stanton, the long-time City Manager of Largo, Florida, has decided to appeal the City Commission’s decision to begin termination proceedings against him. Stanton will file a written request for a public hearing today with the Largo City Commission. Despite Stanton’s 17 years of dedicated service to the City of Largo, the City Commission voted 5-2 last week to begin the legal process of firing Stanton, who informed the Commission that he is transgender after learning that a local newspaper was going to disclose the information to the public. The City Commission is seeking to fire Stanton solely because of his transgender status. Stanton has received strong support from Mayor Pat Gerard, Commissioner Rodney Woods and many City of Largo employees and local residents who do not want to lose a valuable city employee.

“I appreciate this opportunity to talk with the Commission and provide information that will enable them to make a decision based on facts, rather than on a rash reaction to the fears and biases of a narrow segment of the community. I have served the City of Largo for 17 years, and I hope to continue serving for many more. Being transgender is an important part of who I am, but it has no bearing on my ability to do a good job.”

Karen Doering, an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is representing Stanton in the administrative appeal process.

Section 3.02 of the Largo City Charter spells out the process for terminating the City Manager. The City Commission may adopt a preliminary resolution calling for the City Manager’s removal by a vote of five or more Commissioners. Within five days of receiving a copy of the resolution, the City Manager may file a written request for a public hearing, which must be scheduled within 30 days of the request. After the public hearing, the Commission may either adopt a permanent resolution calling for removal or permit the City Manager to retain his position.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.