Holiday Well-Wishes Highlighted at Council

In their meeting on Tuesday, December 17, Gulfport City Council quickly took care of a few official tasks and then concentrated on spotlighting holiday well-wishes and local events.

“I hope everybody has a good break and get some time to yourself to do what you care about,” said Mayor Sam Henderson. “Enjoy the holiday however you like to enjoy it best. Let’s try being really kind to each other and maybe it will extend a little way into the new year.”

Councilmember Michael Fridovich said, “There are 14 religious holidays in December. Happy holidays to everyone.”

Councilmember Christine Brown said, “Enjoy the holidays, check on your neighbors and be kind to everybody.”

Vice Mayor Paul Ray detailed a decorated golf cart and electric bike charity food drive event in the names of Bob and Beverly Newcomb that will be held on Friday, December 20 beginning at 5:30 p.m. to benefit the Gulfport Senior Center pantry, 5501 27th Ave. S. For more information, visit

Ray also said, “I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”

Henderson also invited people to join him on the Winter Solstice Holiday Night Ride for bikes on Saturday, December 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit

2020 Municipal Ballot Name Order Determined

The qualifying period for the 2020 municipal public office election ended on Monday, Dec. 9, said City Clerk Lesley DeMuth. Seats for Ward I and Ward III councilmembers will be on the ballot.

Current Vice Mayor Paul Ray from Ward III will run unopposed while two candidates have qualified for Ward I: councilmember Dan Liedtke is seeking re-election and April Thanos will challenge him for the seat.

The city’s charter stipulates that name placement on the ballot must be determined by lot, said DeMuth. In placing both candidate’s names on equally sized folded cards placed in a basket, she drew the name of Thanos.

“April Thanos will be first” and then Dan Liedtke will be second on the ballot, said DeMuth.

A discussion followed regarding the possibility of a candidate forum held at the municipal Catherine A. Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Ave. S., sponsored either by the city or a community organization. This topic will be considered again during the first meeting in 2020 on January 7.

If a forum is held, it will be at the end of January or during the first week of February before the ballots are mailed out, said DeMuth.

The Gulfport municipal election will be held on Tuesday, March 17. Councilmembers serve for two-year terms.

International Accounting Award Given to Cheryl Hannafin

Finance Director Cheryl Hannafin, right, accepted a plaque from Mayor Sam Henderson that recognizes excellence in financial reporting for the city department that she leads. The award is from the international Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) that is based in Chicago.

“The certificate of achievement is presented to those government units whose annual financial reports are judged to adhere to program standards and represents the highest award in government financial reporting,” said Henderson.

The GFOA represents approximately 19,000 state, provincial and local government finance officers in the United States and Canada. It’s the 36th consecutive year that the city has been recognized by the group.


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