Kay Kell reaches a historic milestone in Pascagoula

By Doug Walker – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It's been a long run for Kay Kell.  She began her career 20 years ago as city manager in Bay St. Louis.  She has spent the last eight years looking over the affairs of Pascagoula.

The first day on the job is always the best, says Kell.

"When your first day, when you come in is your best day, in this form of government."  Kell says, "You make the hard calls to the citizens since you're the one who has to say no a lot, so you start making people mad."

Working with elected officials who have their own agendas is always a challenge, according to Kell.

"The challenge is building a rapport with the new council because they all are a little different, and you have to understand exactly what they want from you and expect from you."

Kell says it's always good practice to be able to take rejection in stride

"It's my responsibility to give the city council my best professional recommendation, if they don't take it and they choose to do something else, that's fine," Kell says. " You know, they're the boss. My job is to do what any four of them want to do, as long as it's legal."

Dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was one of the highlights of her long career, despite terrifying moments during the storm. She remembers those first days after Katrina.

"It scared me to death. It really did because we didn't really know how to proceed," Kell says. "The best part was the council; they let us do incredible things. They gave us the ability to actually make whatever decisions needed to happen."

So, is Kell thinking about retiring anytime soon?

"I want to stop doing it," Kell says. "The hard part is, I love it, but I'm getting tired. I've done this a long time, and the pressure is really great."

Whatever the future may hold for Kell, one thing is certain, she'll do it all by herself.

"I want to do something where I don't have to work with other people. Whatever I do, I'll do my myself."

2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.