Chamber Roasts Short Time Mayor

The Gulfport Chamber of Commerce met Wednesday to poke fun at the outgoing mayor. Community and business leaders roasted Mayor Bob Short at an early morning breakfast meeting.

They talked about a raincoat he wears with "MAYOR OF GULFPORT" written in bold letters on the back.

And while they shared some laughs about Mayor Short's enthusiasm in promoting his city, they also offered praise for a productive four years.

Mayor Bob Short took the playful jabs in stride as business leaders and city employees had a little fun at his expense.

The chief of police brought a special card.

"I wasn't going to say anything too much funny. But mayor we did get you a little thing here. A get out of jail free card," said chief Wayne Payne.

Others brought employment offers. School superintendent, Carlos Hicks, suggested a classroom.

"And lastly, I'm the only one who's bringing you a solid job offer Bob. There is good money in substitute teaching."

Port director and LSU fan, Gary LaGrange, urged the mayor to go for the gold: the purple and gold.

LaGrange presented an LSU shirt and hat to the mayor.

"On your day we're very proud to crown you," said LaGrange, as he fitted the mayor with a "Tigers" cap.

Along with the fun, came a more serious side. Friends recognized a leader for a job well done.

Steve Richer is director of tourism for Harrison County.

"And this is one first class human being. I know he's got a lot of other contributions to make to the coast. So we won't say good bye. We'll just say thanks and we look forward to working with you some more."

The chamber of commerce crowd heard the mayor talk about positive changes downtown. A new federal courthouse is on the way and downtown business is looking up.

"And with the help of the groups that's in this room, we've cleaned up downtown Gulfport. We've made some tremendous changes in some of the older buildings with tax incentive plans. We've got people moving into downtown Gulfport. And we're coming to life," said Mayor Short.

The Special Olympics he loves so much gave the mayor his closing words.

"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt. God bless you."