Biloxi Council Says No To School Board Appointment

Biloxi councilman Bill Fluty was succinct when he said Jaye Brice "didn't choose to be the sister of your opponent."

Yet Mayor A.J. Holloway admits that because Brice is mayoral candidate FoFo Gilich's sister, he won't reappoint her to the Biloxi school board.

"It shouldn't be a surprise that I wouldn't reappoint her," Holloway said. "I mean if somebody is actively working, trying to get my job, and I'm supposed to appoint them to a board?"

During a specially called meeting, Brice reminded the city council that it was Holloway who appointed her to the school board in 1996. She said, "I'm saddened by the fact that the mayor feels like I'm not qualified enough to serve another term."

Four of the five councilmen at this specially called meeting said the politics of this school board appointment made them uncomfortable. "Therefore in protest to the ugly head of the political monster," Biloxi councilman Mike Fitzpatrick said, "I will excuse myself from this meeting."

Minutes later, Fitzpatrick and ward seven councilman Bill Fluty walked out. That left the council without a quorum. It could take no action on the mayor's school board recommendation.

So the mayor must go back to the drawing board. "Mrs. Brice did a fine job," Holloway said. "But there are other people out there that can do just as well a job."

That belief is how Glendon Johnson found himself in the middle of this school board appointment controversy. Johnson spent 33 years as principal at Popps Ferry Elementary School. Before today's walkout, he pleaded with councilmen to take that experience into consideration.

"I've worked and given my life for this," the retired principal said, "for the boys and girls. And I still miss it. This would give me an opportunity to serve again."

But Johnson's opportunity is all but gone. After the meeting, Mayor Holloway told me he'll submit a new school board nominee to the council. It won't be Glendon Johnson, and the mayor said it won't be Jaye Brice.

by Brad Kessie