I blogged about this subject back here, although I didn't spend much time examining the Stanton case in particular.
In Tampa Bay Times blog of the proceedings, we find some real gems:
Speakers rip Stanton's management style
Former Mayor Robert E. Jackson told commissoners that Stanton should be fired for questionable decisions he made as city manager. Jackson pointed to James Gesicki, a 30-year public works employee who was fired in 2004. According to Jackson, Gesicki stayed with his elderly mother when Hurricane Charley was heading for Tampa Bay instead of reporting for work. Jackson said that Gesicki was fired without cause by Stanton, despite many years of service.
Former Largo firefighter Jeannine Horton said that Stanton held employees to standards that he did not apply to himself. Horton was fired in 2002 after using derogatory terms to describe African-Americans.
Let's consider this for a moment. Stanton has worked for the City of Largo, Fl. for over a decade and a half. Few managers with careers longer than six months have made no "questionable" decisions, and the accusations of "double standards" are coming not from Stanton's peers, but from people who would see Stanton as among the "Other" of the power structure.
The accusation of 'double standards' is commonly levelled against managers by workers, especially when the workers are not directly aware of the day to day activities of the leadership.
Perhaps the clearest show of the ignorance involved in this situation came out here:
Commissioners hear from detractors
Several speakers in a row endorsed the firing of Stanton.
One Largo resident complained that Stanton had made a "laughingstock" out of the city, adding "Who would want to live in a weirdo town but a bunch of weirdos?"
The Rev. Charlie Martin, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks said Stanton and his attorney had played "the race card" by focusing on Stanton's status as a transgender as opposed to his inferior performance. Martin told commissioners they could fire Stanton without cause and urged them to relieve him of his duties as city manager.
Think about all of this for a minute. On one side of the coin, we have a group of people villifying Stanton because of the revelation of his transgender status. These are the people who worry incessantly "what will the neighbors think?", instead of trying to understand the situation rationally.
As for Rev. Martin's assertion that the focus is on Stanton's transgender status instead of "inferior performance" as a political ploy, it's a complete crock. I don't have access to Stanton's personnel file, but with a decade and half of performance, I doubt it contains anything all that bad, certainly nothing to warrant immediate termination.
Stanton's termination was initiated when he announced plans to transition. Claiming that suddenly it's about "inferior performance" when a person has a track record over a decade in length is dishonest at best.
Claiming that someone who is transgender is suddenly "incompetent" is no different in my view than telling someone they can't do a job because they are a woman. It's a complete crock.
Perhaps, more amusingly, one might muse that women are often held to arbitrarily higher standards than men. In declaring his desire to transition, why did his performance suddenly become "inferior"? Either mediocrity is expected of men, or Stanton's past performance is suddenly being recast in the light of the expectations that would be placed upon him as a woman?
I can only imagine the lawsuits that will come forth from this - especially in the litigious environment of the United States. Cases like this are the reasons that non-discrimination clauses are so important in law. Being different is not a crime, nor should it be used as a cause for terminating someone's career.