- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - The Biloxi City Council has approved the hiring of former Mayor Gerald Blessey.

The decision means Blessey is returning to city hall in an official capacity for the first time in 26 years.

New Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, who took office last week, appointed Blessey.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1FXBzev) the resolution appointing Blessey calls for him to work on economic development and to coordinate the city’s legal services with cost savings in mind.

Blessey will have a small office at city hall, but will not be a full-time employee. Instead, he will be paid $135 an hour, plus expenses, with $55 an hour available for paralegals.

Blessey served 10 years in the Mississippi House. He was elected mayor in 1981. He was the first mayor to serve under the council-mayor form of government, then a new concept in the state. Blessey served two terms until 1989, when he chose to return to private practice.

In 2008, Gov. Haley Barbour tapped Blessey as the Coast’s “housing czar” for post-Hurricane Katrina recovery.

City leaders are determining how much Biloxi spends on lawyers, but spokesman Vincent Creel said those figures are not finalized. Attorney Michael Collins also will continue to do work for the city, and other law firms will be retained as needed. Blessey will oversee the city’s legal affairs, advising who should do what work.

“Quite frankly, our volume of legal work is bigger than two attorneys can handle,” Creel said.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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