D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - So how did it all fall apart? How did the worst kept secret in D'Iberville end up with nobody replacing Richard Rose yet?
From the day Rose's contract was not renewed by the D'Iberville City Council, everybody just knew that Bobby Eleuterius would be the next city manager. Yet, on Tuesday night, Eleuterius stepped up to the city hall podium and told the council he no longer wanted the job, or the $11,000 salary he would be paid.
He went out with friends after the meeting, had a drink, and then went home.
The next morning, at 7:30 am, just 12 hours later, Eleuterius went to Mikey's Cafe and had breakfast. Windy Swetman was at the diner. The Harrison County Supervisor pulled his predecessor aside, and asked him to change his mind.
"As a businessman, as a public servant, and as a citizen, I hope Bobby reconsiders," Swetman said a few hours later. "The city of D'Iberville needs Bobby Eleuterius."
Swetman wasn't the only person trying to convince Eleuterius he was making a mistake. Restaurant owner Michael Adams was in his ear as well.
"Stroll down any street and see things that he helped get accomplished," Adams noted.
In between wiping tables, and shucking oysters, Adams talked about what Eleuterius has meant to him. Before going into business for himself, Adams worked for Eleuterius at the Harrison County Work Center in D'Iberville.
"The city would be missing out on a great opportunity" without Eleuterius in the city manager's office, he thought.
Eleuterius left the cafe, and turned off his cell phone. He said people kept calling, and at the time, he wasn't in the mood to talk.
Swetman said he figured Eleuterius wouldn't return any calls, especially media calls, for a few days. After all, the reason he lost interest in becoming the city manager was because of news stories, and an editorial, in the local newspaper.
"He got a real bad, sour taste in his mouth," Swetman said. "The guy was doing it for just the right reasons. He loves the city."
But Swetman said the media scrutiny about Eleuterius working behind the scenes to plot his takeover of the city manager position turned an opportunity into a distraction.
At lunch, Johnny Fayard was at Mikey's Cafe, ordering the pork chop special. Fayard is a fishing buddy of the former supervisor. And they had been in contact before and after Eleuterius decided to withdraw his application.
"I just told Bobby I would support any decision he's made. But I reminded him of the good he could do for the city," he said.
Fayard is the one who contacted Eleuterius, and told him to come back to the café to talk with WLOX News.
When he walked in wearing his blue golf shirt, Eleuterius had a smile on his face. He said hi to a few friends, and immediately walked over to me. He wanted his side of the story to be told.
When asked about the media scrutiny, Eleuterius said, "To that possibility that the public thought that I had control over a council to make them hire me, and to change all the qualifications was simply wrong. I decided just to simply shut the door on that and go back to private life and remain there."
I asked him if he raised money for Mayor Rusty Quave during his bid for re-election. Eleuterius said yes he did. He was one of eight people to raise about $7,000 for the mayor's campaign. When the criticism about that connection between campaign and the city manager's job made headlines, Eleuterius realized he wanted no part of the public spotlight anymore.
"I've had enough of that my entire life. And I just didn't want to get back into that," he said.
The former supervisor noted that he had lost weight since getting away from politics. And that felt good.
"I've had health problems. But my health seems to have improved 100 percent since I got away from this," he laughed.
Was there anything he could think of that could change his mind?
"Not that I can think of at this point," he said.
When I mentioned Brett Favre made the same sort of comment after retiring from the Packers and the Jets, yet was practicing with the Vikings, Eleuterius said, "I don't think there's any chance in the world that I'm going to come back into the public arena. I've had it."
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