Economy
12:00 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Liquor Control Board Looking For Large Reforms

The Liquor Control Board is asking state lawmakers for help on a slew of reforms.

Among them, bills to allow liquor stores to sell lottery tickets, allow more to pen on Sundays, and change pricing rules to make them more competitive with neighboring states and online retailers.

Senator John Pippy (R-Allegheny) says efforts to modernize the LCB will not interfere with efforts to sell off the state's liquor stores.

"The house right now is dealing with the privatization side," Pippy said. "Regardless of whether we privatize or not, these things would hopefully make the system better for the individual customer, but also increase the value, so if we do go to privatize it, we'll get more value out of it."

Another issue concerning the LCB is the use of a civil service exam to hire and fire employees.

LCB CEO Joe Conti says the LCB pays a million dollars per year to have the state handle store vacancies, and that the agency should be able to hire and fire employees based on its own criteria.

"You know, I'm not fixated on everybody not being civil service, but in our retail area — in marketing, in store operations, and in supply chain — we'd really like relief from civil service," Conti said.

Senator Pippy says the LCB's proposed reforms still have to be negotiated, and many would rise and fall based on how well they serve consumers.