StateWays - March/April 2017

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays | | March/April 2017 11 Dorfman and his DLC colleagues believe the agency can offer additional resources to the county that private retailers and licensees would be unable to provide - including consis- tent customer service, added educational components and ex- tremely competitive prices. Another benefi t of the DLC being at the helm is that it offers a level of community protection and awareness not typically found in the private sector. And there's also a safety component to having a controlled county. Kathie Durbin, Chief of Licensure, Regulation and Education with the DLC, is quick to point out that proponents of the privatization concept often fail to recognize this strong advantage. "Environmental strategies are built into the system. For in- stance, every county liquor store closes by 10 p.m.," she says. "That prevents alcohol from being sold at very late hours, which we believe is important especially when it comes to pre- venting alcohol-related incidents." Durbin also points out that all the county stores receive the same high standard of training, which is run by the DLC. The agency ensures that all trainings are consistent, that the train- ings complement server training, and that all licensees are reg- ularly updated on important policy changes. Violations in the county are down overall. Outreach is an important component of the DLC in gen- eral. The agency partners with various compliance groups and other agencies to pool resources in order to have a maximum presence in the community. "Unfortunately, we don't have the time or resources to do everything ourselves," Durbin explains. "We can't visit every school in the county each year, although we do engage when- ever possible. We also work with as many different coordina- tors as we can so that we can collectively impact thousands of events each year." In addition to contributing to various community events, the DLC also sponsors multiple community training events each year, which are offered free of charge to the public. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE The DLC staff hope that in addition to providing outstanding customer service and increasing profi ts for the county in the coming years, the public will ultimately become more aware of the value that the agency provides, and perhaps other counties will begin to look at Montgomery County as a model. "People on one side of the issue currently say that we're the only county in the USA that handles alcohol, and that's a reason why everything should go the privatization route," Dorf- man says. "But I have a feeling that when people eventually see everything the county is doing, they might want to copy us as the exception." For the time being, Dorfman and the DLC plan to move forward with rolling out a new strategic business strategy plan and also fi nalizing the 2018 fi scal year budget, which will refl ect the need to invest in several capital expenditures designed to The DLC's 2018 fiscal budget will include a new strategic business plan and investments in capital projects. enhance service and increase sales. Dorfman says the agency is putting all the necessary pieces in place to ensure that all issues currently impairing the DLC's ability to serve customers are properly addressed in a timely manner. "There's a lot of work to be done here," he admits. "The DLC staff has done a great job, particularly in the last year or so, by beginning to address these issues. I'm looking forward to working with them to get it all done." • MELISSA NIKSIC is a freelance writer and market- ing communications strategist from Chicago, IL. Her work has appeared in Chicago's Daily Herald newspa- per, Time Out Chicago, Suburban Life newspapers, and var- ious magazines. She is also the author of several children's books. Follow her @MelissaNiksic. "THE DLC STAFF HAS DONE A GREAT JOB, PARTICULARLY IN THE LAST YEAR OR SO, BY BEGINNING TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES."

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