Board votes no on private liquor sales|Proposal was seen as attempt to start loosening state alcohol restrictions

Published 11:52 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Staff Writer

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners Monday evening narrowly approved a resolution asking the state to abandon a proposal that would allow some private liquor sales.
The proposal would require local ABC boards that have stores deemed inefficient to contract with private retailers to run the stores.
The board’s three Democrats, Langley, Ed Booth and Robert Cayton, joined with board Chairman Jay McRoy, a Republican, to oppose the state plan.
Before voting to oppose the plan, McRoy noted he doesn’t approve of alcohol consumption.
Materials included in the board’s agenda book suggested that some see the proposal as a first step toward more private sales of liquor overall.
“The state needs to turn it loose,” Richardson said.
Commissioner Stan Deatherage compared ABC stores to the state’s education lottery.
“They’re going to be ‘drinking for the children’ before it’s all over,” said Deatherage, who routinely refers to the lottery as “gambling for the children.”
He added later, “Let’s allow the public to see if they can do better.”
In other business Monday, Commissioner Hood Richardson complained that he’s being persecuted by the county’s map recorders.
Richardson, a surveyor, is frequently involved in county map recordings.
The two map recorders are “using their miniscule authority to punish a commissioner, namely Hood Richardson,” Richardson said.
Richardson wasn’t abashed in his criticism of the two, whom he called by name during the televised meeting.
Richardson said he was angry at “Enid Robinson and Tony what’s-his-name.” Tony’s last name is Garris, Richardson was told.
“Both of these people have set themselves up as true bureaucrats,” he said.
He added later, “They don’t know enough about what they’re doing to provide a good service, an adequate service, to the public.”
Board Vice Chairman Jerry Langley said he appreciated Richardson bringing up an area the board might want to work on to improve public service, adding he disapproved of the way Richardson was doing it.
“The only problem I have with any of this is calling out our employees and calling them names and putting it on the air,” Langley said.
The board voted to make County Manager Paul Spruill a map recorder.
Spruill said the move will allow him to better understand how the map-recording process works, which will help him come up with new policies to improve public service.