Blessey: ‘It’s time for me to slow down a bit’

Gerald Blessey

Gerald Blessey

Biloxi City Attorney Gerald Blessey, who reconstituted the city’s Legal Department and helped generate millions of dollars in grants and funds recovered for the city over the past year, plans to step down in September, at the end of the current fiscal year.

Blessey, a former Biloxi mayor and state legislator, notified Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich on Friday of his intentions.

“It has been an honor to serve as City Attorney and Director of the Legal Department and a great pleasure to work for you and to assist in achieving your visionary plans for our beloved City.

“At the age of 74, it is time for me to slow down a bit,” Blessey wrote in a resignation letter dated Monday.

Blessey’s law firm was Gilich’s first appointment when he was elected mayor 15 months ago. The mayor had charged Blessey with two tasks: controlling the city’s cost of legal representation and assisting him in economic development initiatives.

Blessey created a panel of eight council-approved law firms to be available to represent the city on a host of issues. The cost: $100,000 below the previous year’s legal fees.

Additionally, the city’s Municipal Court was reorganized in the wake of an ACLU lawsuit, and the court is now held as a model nationally. Gilich also directed Blessey to organize the Mayor’s Grant Team, a multi-departmental group that meets weekly to help departments identify and pursue grants.

Said Gilich: “I’ve asked Gerald to consider serving part-time as one of our panel of outside attorneys, to focus on economic development, Tidelands, and legislation for the city.”
Blessey’s letter of resignation
Legal Department’s list of funds recovered
Legal Department’s grants assistance