Statement from John Kelly, Gulfport's chief administrative officer

GULFPORT — John Kelly, the city’s chief administrative officer and former municipal court administrator, issued the following statement today:

We have been notified by state authorities regarding the accusations involving Municipal Judge Bill Atchison and they are upsetting to all of us. We are keeping Bill and his family in our prayers.

Judge Atchison is on administrative leave and the city has several other judges assigned to municipal court who will continue to hear cases on a daily basis.

In recent years we have made tremendous strides to assure that our court runs smoothly and honorably. The court recently installed a new filing system and doubled the budget for public defenders. The court has also adopted a new set of court rules that are currently being reviewed by the Mississippi Supreme Court as rules that could be used by all municipal courts throughout the state.

The city is building a 65,000-square-foot facility at the corner of 23rd Avenue and 15th Street in downtown. The plan is to relocate the city's police department headquarters, municipal court and other services to the new Rob Curry Municipal Complex sometime next year.

Our court is making significant progress every day and we must continue to move forward.

Again, we wish Judge Atchison and his family all the best in the coming weeks and months.


John KellyChief Administrative Officer