I f North Carolina is not going to sell off its ABC system, as we have urged it to consider, then at least let's straighten it out and make it more efficient.
State ABC Commission Chairman Jon Williams has outlined a number of possible steps for a long-overdue overhaul of the way the state-run liquor-delivery network operates. These options, now being considered by Gov. Bev Perdue's Budget Reform and Accountability Commission, include:
Consolidate small local ABC boards into countywide - or better yet, even regional - boards. Or remove their independence and meld them into existing county government operations.
Allow certain ABC stores to assume the role of "agency stores" and sell liquor in sparsely populated areas unable to support profitable ABC stores.
Require local ABC board members, and well as store managers and staff, to undergo more ethics training.
In the absence of privatization, these recommendations would be a welcome improvement. They are prompted largely by recent revelations of loose regulation, shockingly high salaries and reports of local board members and staffers being plied with lavish entertainment by liquor companies.
We emphasize that none of these accusations have been aimed at the Moore County ABC operation. But the system as a whole clearly needs to be brought under tighter rein.
More like this story