Ward Three Councilwoman Jennifer Salmon announced Sunday afternoon that she would not seek a third term.
It took me months to make this decision,” the second-term councilwoman said in an e-mail to council and constituents. “I truly love serving our residents and our city.
Councilwoman Salon added that serving on council prevented her from applying for the current opening at the Gulfport Multipurpose Senior Center.
“It is a dream job,” Councilwoman Salmon said of the Social Services Supervisor position, recently vacated by Gail Biron.
Gulfport’s current charter does not allow elected officials to work for the city for one year after their term ends.
“In order for me to apply, Council would need to change a line in Chapter 305(b),” she said, adding she wanted the city’s attorney, Andy Salzman, “to provide the context of this one sentence” for council.
In addition, Councilwoman Salmon spoke with the city manager, Jim O’Reilly, about the position.
“She asked if I thought she was qualified, I said, ‘you’re probably qualified, someone like you’,” Mr. O’Reilly told the Gabber, “but then I informed her that the that charter provides for a one-year waiting period between holding elected office and being eligible for city employment.”
At that point, the city manager said he endeavored to remove the appearance of impropriety.
“And then I said, ‘and now we have to cut off, I can’t be part of this’,” he said of the conversation. “I’ve removed myself from the process so there wouldn’t be any appearance of conflict of interest or inappropriate influence extended.”
The position will remain open until the city finds the appropriate candidate.
“Right now we’re just in the process; we’re receiving resumes,” Mr. O’Reilly said. He said no one at the city, to his knowledge, had told, promised, or implied to Councilwoman Salmon that the city would hire her after her term ended.
“I’ve not promised her anything; she has to be considered like any other candidate. She has to be considered by [supervisor] Bob Williams,” he said. “There’s no quid pro quo, I can promise you that.”