Morrison picked for spot on port board

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A local developer has emerged as the preferred choice of the Warren County Port Commission to take the place of three-term member Oren Bailess, who is declining another appointment to the five-member board.

Robert Morrison III, 56, was the recommended replacement in a letter to Warren County supervisors from executive director Wayne Mansfield last week.

Morrison, one of the planners of Eastvillage subdivision off Lee Road, was the pick due to ties to the local business community and willingness to attend meetings, Board President Richard George told supervisors during an informal session Monday.

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The commission also favored appointing chairman Johnny Moss, 68, for a fourth term on the commission. Supervisors, who appoint two of the board’s five members, expect to vote on both recommendations at a formal meeting Monday. Terms run concurrently with county supervisors’.

Bailess, 82, who was chancery clerk for 12 years in the 1980s and 1990s, indicated formally this month he didn’t wish to serve on the commission, Mansfield said. No changes are expected for two seats appointed by city of Vicksburg, currently held by Rusty Hawkins, 65, and John Ferguson, 70,

“I’ve put in a request for them to be reappointed,” Mansfield said.

The jointly appointed panel manages and oversees industrial development at the Port of Vicksburg and at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex.

Its fifth seat, held by Mike Cappaert, is appointed by the governor and may not be filled until after Gov.-elect Phil Bryant takes office in January. Cappaert was first appointed by former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in January 2004.