BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi City Councilman Paul Tisdale can resign from his council seat and serve as the city's chief administrative officer, if he works without compensation. That's according to a ruling by the Mississippi Ethics Commission.
Mayor FoFo Gilich said he is encouraged by the ruling. Gilich tapped Tisdale to run the day-to-day operations of the city on June 24 after CAO David Nichols announced he was accepting a job with Biloxi Public Schools.
"We've known from day one that salary might be an issue, but our primary question to the ethics commission was, 'What if Paul served without pay?' which is something he is considering," said Gilich. "They've told us, 'Yes, he could,' but at the same time, we're going to take the Ethic Commission's advice and consult the attorney general as well to make sure."
According to the city, state law does not prohibit a policymaker from moving from the legislative branch to the executive branch under the mayor-city council form of government, but the state constitution prohibits the move if it includes financial gain.
Tisdale has yet to accept the mayor's nomination, and the move has not yet been approved by the city council. If Tisdale does accept, a special election will have to be held for Ward 5 voters to fill his vacant seat on the council.
"I just hate to think that we'd have to pass up someone with Paul's proven ability, but I want to make sure Paul and the city council are comfortable before we move forward," said Gilich.
Before being elected to the city council in 2013, Tisdale spent 36 years in the education field. He served as superintendent of Biloxi Public Schools from 2004 to 2011.