Kirkland to lead development, innovation efforts

Continuing his restructuring of Biloxi municipal operations, Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich today announced the creation of a new position within the mayor’s office, and selected a former Biloxi CAO to fill it.

“I was elected in large part because of my commitment to more aggressively pursue economic development and my pledge to address 21st century issues with 21st century thinking,” said Gilich, who took office slightly more than a month ago. “And this new position is crucial to those plans.”

Gilich announced that F. Cliff Kirkland will be the city’s Chief of Civic Innovation and Development. Kirkland will be the city’s lead contact for development and serve in a multi-purpose role that involves strategic planning, economic development and innovative enhancements across all city departments. He will report directly to the Mayor, and will work closely with other members of the mayor’s development team, Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols, City Attorney Gerald Blessey and architect Frank Genzer. As part of his duties, Kirkland also will continue to plan and produce special events in MGM Park, as the city hired him to do on a consulting basis earlier this year.

A Biloxi native, Kirkland is a former newspaperman, city chief administrative officer, casino executive here and in Las Vegas, and development consultant. He also headed Gilich’s transition team after the special mayoral election. Kirkland also currently serves as president of Main Street Biloxi, having recently planned and produced the Game Day Experience in conjunction with the arrival of the Biloxi Shuckers and the opening of the new stadium.

“Cliff has been helping bring development and jobs to Biloxi for more than 25 years in a variety of roles, many of which were voluntary. He’s also served our Coast community as a dedicated volunteer on boards and charities for longer than that,” Gilich added. “It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I was able to talk him into coming on board and joining our senior staff. His professional experiences and contacts will be tremendous assets to Biloxi going forward.”