Chuck Teston believes in service to community. That's why he became a Gulfport councilman. "If you can't serve your people, and you can't be one of them," he said, "then you probably are in the wrong business or the wrong place."
As a general rule, Teston doesn't think much of people who resign from public office before their four year commitment expires. But, he does understand how family status can sometimes force a politician to remove his name plate from the council table before the next election. "Yes I do," he said. "I think a lot of times though, we use that as a crutch. And you know that excuses are crutches for the untalented."
Until Tuesday, one of Teston's colleagues in Gulfport's council chambers was Richard Rose. But Rose ended his fourth term in office a year early, so he could become D'Iberville's city manager.
Gulfport resident Georgia Christy Johnson didn't like Rose's decision. "I don't think it was fair," she said, after leaving a meeting at city hall. "I don't think it was politically correct."
In a letter to WLOX, Rose said he unexpectedly quit because "an opportunity came up to further expand my experience in municipal government, as well as do something important for my family."
Teston felt empathy. But he also felt bad for the city. "I think that contract is solid," he said, referring to any public official who wins a campaign. "Money shouldn't sway me away. If that be the case, I should know in the beginning I've got some problems. And I probably shouldn't run for the office."
In Teston's case, the councilman has every intention of staying at city hall right through next year's elections. What he runs for in that election still hasn't been determined.
Here's an interesting footnote to the early resignation story. When former Biloxi councilman Jim Compton submitted his resignation letterlast month, he attached a $940 check to it. His letter said the money should be used to cover the estimated costs of the special election for his seat. That election is next Tuesday.
You can learn more about the three people running for that seat Saturday at 6;00 on WLOX News This Week.