Dr. John R. Kelly has been appointed Gulfport's new Chief Administrative Officer. Mayor Brent Warr made the announcement Friday. Kelly will replace current CAO David Nichols.
"John has displayed his outstanding leadership within our Municipal Court system. He has brought professionalism, efficiency and credibility to that area of our administration and I know he will do no less as CAO," Warr said.
Kelly is a native Mississippian and a coast resident for more than 33 years. He holds a Master's degree from Wayne State University and a doctorate from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Kelly retired as Regional Director for Community and Family Support with the Navy's Southeast Region. Kelly also spent ten years with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service through their Urban Youth Program and the Sea Grant Advisory Service. He has served as an adjunct professor for the Gulf Park Campus of USM for twenty-four years.
"Dr. Kelly has worked diligently over the last year to improve the efficiency of our City Courts and we are pleased with his accomplishments," stated Brian Carriere, president of the Gulfport City Council.
"The mayor has now requested we consider confirming him for a similar opportunity in the CAO position and the consensus of the council is to support that request. We look forward to working more closely with Dr. Kelly and hope that this brings good things for Gulfport," Carriere said.
According to Warr, Kelly will continue to oversee the operation of the Municipal Court as part of his new role. After 90 days, considering all things are working well, the city will begin a search for a new Court Administrator.
"We want to continue to move forward in our Municipal Court operations and I am confident John's oversight will keep things on track," stated Warr. "John has an enormous capacity for managing multiple issues and it will be a strength I want to leverage in his new role."
Warr said Kelly has a solid record of community involvement. He is a former President and Chief Volunteer Officer for United Way of South Mississippi. He has served as Chairman of the National Board for the American Cancer Society and President of the board for Gulfport Job Corps Center. He is a director and past chairman of the Gulf Coast Medical Center Board of Trustees.
"I am pleased to have this opportunity to serve the Mayor, Council Members and the people of Gulfport," said Kelly. "While there are many challenges ahead, it is a time of great energy and promise. I look forward to making a contribution to our progress."