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Burcham to assume license office

The Farmington License Office will remain in Farmington, and will stay at its present location at least for the next few months, the new fee agent said.

Attorney Tom Burcham will replace Emily Firebaugh as fee agent in the Farmington license office. Firebaugh plans to close the office March 15; however, it might take until April 1 to reopen the office under his management, Burcham said after meeting with current staff.

Burcham, a former state representative and current city counsel for Farmington, is one of 118 fee agents Gov. Matt Blunt recently named to offices across the state. The list did not include Bonne Terre or other fee offices whose agent appointments have not yet been finalized.

Under new guidelines for motor vehicle and driver licensing offices, each agent must submit a business plan before the state will issue a contract.

“My goal is to have everything ready to open by April 1,” Burcham said on Friday. “I am calling each of the staff to see if they are interested in staying. They will have first shot.

“If it works out for them and it works out for me, that’s wonderful,” he added.

Appointments typically go to supporters in the current governor’s party. Democrat Emily Firebaugh, the outgoing fee agent, and her staff started a letter-writing campaign last month in anticipation that Blunt would replace Firebaugh. They asked Blunt to leave the staff and office in place at 103 Walker Drive.

On Saturday, Firebaugh said she and her staff are working with Burcham toward an easy transition.

“The staff and I enjoyed serving the public and send our thanks to all who supported us,” she said. “We are all very pleased that the license office is staying in Farmington. We are pleased to be working with Tom Burcham so that the transfer will be easy for the people who need to use the license office.”

For now, Burcham said, he wants to keep the license office at its present location. However, he is looking at several properties including land where he cold build an office and existing buildings that could be rehabilitated.

“I would like to have a drive-through service – if it’s feasible – and offer additional services such as passport photos,” Burcham said. “I think a drive-through is a common sense service, but it all depends on the location.”

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