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Re-assessing how ABC Board positions are filled

Mecklenburg County Commissioners will take another look today at how they appoint members of the local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. County Commissioners decide who sits on the Mecklenburg County's 5-person ABC board. They get a stack of applications a few days ahead of a board meeting and then take a vote. Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts says it's a very quick process, too quick. "There really has been very little discussion about qualifications," explains Roberts. "It has been to some degree based on people who are known to the community or known to the commissioners and even though we've had the information it has not really been discussed and examined the way we feel is appropriate." Roberts says commissioners want to make sure appointees have professional or community experience that directly relates to the work the ABC board does. Commissioners will soon decide who takes former ABC board chairman Parks Helms position. He stepped down last month after controversy erupted over a lavish dinner a liquor company threw for the ABC board. Roberts says although that dinner helped prompt commissioners to take a second look at the appointment process, it's unlikely a different process would have prevented the controversy. Earlier this month, the local ABC board tightened up its ethics policy to explicitly prohibit employees and board members from accepting gifts of value from liquor companies.

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