Gilich pleased with Ethics opinion on CAO nominee

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich says he was encouraged by an Ethics Commission ruling that says current City Councilman Paul Tisdale could serve as the city’s new chief administrative officer, if he worked without compensation.

“We’ve known from Day 1 that salary might be an issue,” Gilich said, “but our primary question to the Ethics Commission was, ‘What if Paul served without pay?’ which is something he is considering.

“They’ve told us, ‘Yes, he could,’ but at the same time, we’re going to take the Ethic Commission’s advice and consult the Attorney General as well to make sure.”

Gilich had announced his intention to nominate Tisdale on June 24, after CAO David Nichols announced that he was accepting an administrative post with Biloxi Public Schools.

“Paul Tisdale is someone who will bring a great deal of leadership and experience to head our administrative team,” Gilich said at the time. “I’ve been impressed with his eagerness to regularly attend FEMA status meetings, staff budget meetings and generally be engaged in a wide range of issues.”

State statutes that govern the mayor-council form of government do not prohibit a policymaker from moving from the legislative to executive branch, but Section 109 of the state Constitution prohibits such a move if it entailed financial gain. Gilich has discussed with Tisdale, who has yet to accept the mayor’s nomination, the issue since before the mayor’s June 24 announcement.

Said Gilich “I just hate to think that we’d have to pass up someone with Paul’s proven ability, but I want to make sure Paul and the City Council are comfortable before we move forward.”

Should Tisdale move to run the day-to-day operations of the city government, an appointment that must be approved by the City Council, a special election would be called for Ward 5 voters to elect a new city councilman.

Before being elected to represent west Biloxi in 2013, Tisdale led Biloxi Public Schools with a budget and workforce similar to Biloxi municipal government.

He compiled a distinguished 36-year career in education. He served as superintendent of Biloxi Public Schools from 2004 to 2011, and was also the superintendent of the Bay-Waveland School District from 1992 to 1996. He has a Doctorate , Master’s and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University,  and his career in education was highlighted by numerous national, regional and local honors. He has also served his hometown as a member of several community boards and associations.

During his tenure as Biloxi schools chief, Tisdale oversaw the re-opening of Biloxi schools less than a month after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent realignment of school attendance zones to reflect post-Katrina shifts in population.

Two years after stepping down as Biloxi’s schools chief, he was elected to represent west Biloxi, as Ward 5 City Councilman, succeeding longtime councilmember Tom Wall.

Tisdale also was one of four City Councilmembers to run for mayor after the resignation of Mayor A.J. Holloway 15 months ago.
Read the Ethics Commission advisory opinion


U-Haul seeks to convert vacant Walmart on Pass Road

U-Haul has approached the city with an idea to convert the former Walmart on Pass Road into a retail outlet and interior storage facility for boats, RVs and individual storage units.

The proposal had its first airing last week before the city’s Development Review Committee, a multi-departmental city body that looks at various issues of new construction.

The U-Haul proposal would use the entire Walmart site and the 118,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant since Walmart opened a new supercenter on C.T. Switzer Drive.
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