BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For the first time in 22 years, a man not named A.J. Holloway is now in charge at Biloxi City Hall on a permanent basis. Andrew "FoFo"' Gilich took the mayoral oath of office Monday morning at the Biloxi Visitors Center.
With the words, "So help me God," Gilich ended a journey he began back in 2001, the first time he ran for the city's top office. He's now the Mayor of Biloxi and anxious to start.
"We've got a real job, and we're ready to go to work. We've already kind of started work so today, in a few minutes, we'll be off to some meetings and look at the documents," Gilich said.
City department heads were present and are optimistic about the future. One of them is Fire Chief Joe Boney.
"It's a new day for Biloxi. I'm excited about the energy this new mayor brings to the city and a little bit of direction that he brings," said Boney. "I'm kind of excited to hear his policies and his plans."
The mayor's transition chief, Cliff Kirkland, has hit the ground running.
"It's going well. We've surveyed all the city employees. We've surveyed the directors in all the departments. I finished producing a report to the mayor about the employee surveys," Kirkland explained.
Even those who ran against Gilich, four members of the city council, say they are looking forward to the future.
"It shows that the people had confidence in him, as do myself, and I think he's going to lead us in the right direction, definitely," Councilman Felix Gines said.
Gilich has a reputation among his family and friends, even his acquaintances, of wearing his heart on his sleeve. He's not afraid to let his emotions show. When I asked him if becoming Mayor of Biloxi was a dream come true, tears welled up in his eyes.
"It is. It really is," Gilich said. "You look around and see the family we have here, and it's about doing what's good for these kids and the children that are going to follow us."
His wife, Serena, certainly agrees.
"It's a dream come true, I hope for Biloxi, the City of Biloxi," said Serena. "His passion about this city, his passion about us and I know he'll do a great job."
Gilich will fill the remaining two years of former mayor A.J. Holloway's term. Holloway resigned earlier this year because of health problems.
Monday's swearing in was held so Gilich is the mayor when the city council meets on Tuesday. A formal public inauguration will be held Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Biloxi Civic Center on Howard Avenue.