By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — What exactly is the role of local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards? Can control and profit motives co-exist? And how best can the ABC system make sure regulations are equally enforced across the state? These are among a host of issues facing Jon Williams and A.D. “Zander” Guy as they join John D. Lyon Jr. on the N.C. ABC Commission.
Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed the two this week, naming Williams, the current deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, to fill the ABC chairman’s role vacated in May when Doug Fox resigned under pressure after forwarding an inappropriate e-mail.
Williams, Guy and Lyon now face about a four-month backlog of alcohol violations and other work because of the longstanding vacancies. According to the ABC Web site, their next meeting is set for Oct. 15, though Guy, the mayor of Surf City and owner of a real estate firm, said Thursday that he expects to hear from Williams early next week about possibly meeting sooner.
A member of the N.C. Banking Commission and the Cape Fear Community College Foundation Board, Guy described himself as a non-drinker and a moderate and said he looks forward for the opportunity to “listen, learn and do what I think is right.”
A Jacksonville native, he has lived in the Surf City area since the early 1990s. According to the Governor’s press release, he received the Kiwanian of the Year award in 2004 and was named Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2000.
Guy said he is concerned about underage drinking.
“I know the state is very cognizant of this, but I want to make sure to keep it in the forefront,” he said.
A former insurance agent, Guy served three months in prison in 1990 after fraudulently billing clients for more than $15,000. He was pardoned by Gov. Jim Martin.
“Everybody makes mistakes, and I can’t change what is behind me,” Guy said Thursday. “But through the grace of God and with the help of my family and business associates I have been able to change what’s in front of me.”
Williams, who earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the executive director of the Governor’s Crime Commission and a member of the N.C. Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission. According to Gov. Perdue’s office, the N.C. Jaycees named him among five Outstanding Young North Carolinians in 1999, a year after his unsuccessful bid for Congress.
Williams told the Charlotte Observer this week that he thinks Gov. Perdue wants clear advice on the implications of a legislative report that recommended the ABC Commission at the state level have more authority over local boards. The report said, among other things, that North Carolina has not clearly defined the mission of local boards and that the ABC system had not kept pace with changing shopping patterns. A control state, North Carolina has more than 150 county and municipal ABC Boards operating just over 400 ABC stores.
“We look forward to getting to know these new ABC commissioners and finding out their philosophy of how to best regulate alcohol,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “These men have an important role in North Carolina. I urge every Christian who understands the critical nature of the office they hold to earnestly pray for them as they embrace their new responsibilities.”