MRPC News Release

For immediate release
March 20, 2017

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993

Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) Chairman Ray Schwartze (left) presents Mayor of Crocker James Morgan with a plaque commemorating his years of service to MRPC.  Morgan is retiring and returning to his hometown of Jamestown, New York. 

MRPC honors Mayor James Morgan for years of service

ST. JAMES—Mayor of Crocker James Morgan attended his final meeting as secretary to the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) Board of Directors Thursday March 9 at #4 Industrial Drive, St. James. Morgan is retiring and moving back to his hometown of Jamestown, New York, where his brother currently lives.

In April of 2006, the city of Crocker joined MRPC. Since that time, Morgan has served in various roles on the MRPC board and committees, as well as, having served on the Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) board, the Region I Homeland Security Oversight Committee (HSOC) and the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Advisory Committee.

“James is a leader,” Luge Hardman, mayor of Waynesville, said. “He’s been a great leader for Crocker. He listens, he shows up, he speaks up and he acts, and that’s what a leader should do. There is an old saying that decisions are made by the people who show up, and James and I are always showing up, so watch out because we are the decision makers. I am going to miss James and I wish him the best of luck in New York as he goes back to spend time with his family. I want to thank him for being a great representative for Crocker and a great mayor friend.”

At the start of the meeting, Hardman and Mayor of St. Robert George Lauritson presented Morgan with coins representing both Waynesville and St. Robert. After a short tribute video, MRPC Board Chair Ray Schwartze presented Morgan with a plaque commemorating his many years of service.

Morgan expressed that he was honored and hadn’t expected such a tribute.

“I was thinking about this the other; I sat down and figured it up. I think I’ve made 150 trips to St. James in six years. I can almost put the car on automatic drive, and I know where I’m going. Every now and then I’ve looked to see if I’ve missed anything. I sure appreciate this. I’ve enjoyed this. I’ve immensely enjoyed getting to know everybody. This is a great organization, and I’ve made it an absolute stipulation that the next mayor of Crocker must make sure that MRPC is part of their agenda.”

            In other business, the MRPC board:

  • Introduced the new board member Shane Anselm, representing labor, who is a representative for the St. Louis and Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council. Cody Leathers also attended and will be replacing Bob Baldwin, representing the city of Cuba.
  • Heard a presentation from Alexandra Blackwell with Central Workforce Development Board (CWIB) about changes due to federal legislation, workforce statistics on MRPC’s eight counties and workforce development programs offered through CWIB;
  • Heard from Executive Director Bonnie Prigge about the MoDOT Statewide Planning meeting she attended with MRPC Senior Community Development Specialist Anne Freand and Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) Chairman John Casey;
  • Prigge also reported on the MoDOT Central District STIP meeting where planning partners and MoDOT discussed priority projects to be included in the STIP. The draft has not yet been released;
  • Approved Hochschild, Bloom & Company LLP as the company for MRPC’s financial audit. They were the only bid received;
  • Received an update on Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) and the six grant awards recently made; and
  • Approved the request of venue form (due by May 2) for the MRPC annual dinner.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 25, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at

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