Local ABC Boards.
§ 18B-700. Appointment and organization of local ABC boards.
(a) Membership. - A local ABC board shall consist of three or five members appointed for three-year terms unless the board is a board for a merged ABC system under G.S. 18B-703 and a different size membership has been provided for as part of the negotiated merger. If the board is a three-member board, one member of the initial board of a newly created ABC system shall be appointed for a three-year term, one member for a two-year term, and one member for a one-year term. If the board is a five-member board, one member of the initial board of a newly created ABC system shall be appointed for a three-year term, two members for two-year terms, and two members for one-year terms. As the terms of initial board members expire, their successors shall each be appointed for three-year terms. If a board is initially a three-member board and the appointing authority determines a five-member board is preferable, the terms of the two new members shall be for three years. If a local board has five members and the appointing authority determines a three-member board is preferable, the appointing authority shall not reduce the size of the board except upon the expiration of a member's term and only with the approval of the Commission. The appointing authority shall designate one member of the local board as chairman.
(a1) Mission. - The mission of local ABC boards and their employees shall be to serve their localities responsibly by controlling the sale of spirituous liquor and promoting customer-friendly, modern, and efficient stores.
(b) City Boards. - City ABC board members shall be appointed by the city governing body, unless a different method of appointment is provided in a local act enacted before the effective date of this Chapter.
(c) County Boards. - County ABC board members shall be appointed by the board of county commissioners, unless a different method of appointment is provided in a local act enacted before the effective date of this Chapter.
(c1) Limit on Creation of New Boards. - Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no new local board may be created in any county where a local board operates an ABC store. If a jurisdiction holds an ABC store election under G.S. 18B-602(g), the establishment of ABC stores is approved, and the jurisdiction is located in a county where a local board is already in operation, the jurisdiction that held the election shall enter into an agreement with an existing local board to create a merged local board in accordance with G.S. 18B-703. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a local board from serving multiple cities, counties, or cities and counties.
(d) Qualifications. - The appointing authority shall appoint members of a local board on the basis of the appointees' interest in public affairs, good judgment, knowledge, ability, and good moral character.
(e) Vacancy. - A vacancy on a local board shall be filled by the appointing authority for the remainder of the unexpired term. If the chairman's seat becomes vacant, the appointing authority may designate either the new member or an existing member of the local board to complete the chairman's term.
(f) Removal. - A member of a local board may be removed for cause at any time by the appointing authority. Local board members are subject to the removal provisions of G.S. 18B-202.
(g) Compensation of Board Members. - A local board member shall receive compensation in an amount not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per board meeting unless a different level of monetary compensation is approved by the appointing authority. If a different level is approved by the appointing authority, the appointing authority shall notify the Commission of the approved level of compensation in writing. Any change in compensation approved by the appointing authority shall be reported to the Commission in writing within 30 days of the effective date of the change. No local board member shall receive any nonmonetary compensation or benefits unless specifically authorized by this section.
(g1) (See Editor's note for applicability) Compensation of General Managers of Local Boards. - The salary authorized for the general manager, as defined in G.S. 18B-101, of a local board shall not exceed the salary authorized by the General Assembly for the clerk of superior court of the county in which the appointing authority was originally incorporated unless such compensation is otherwise approved by the appointing authority. The local board shall provide the appointing authority's written confirmation of such approval to the Commission. Any change in compensation approved by the appointing authority shall be reported to the Commission in writing within 30 days of the effective date of the change. The general manager of a local board may receive any other benefits to which all employees of the local board are entitled. The salary authorized for other employees of a local board may not exceed that of the general manager.
(g2) Travel Allowance and Per Diem Rates. - Approved travel on official business by the members and employees of local boards shall be reimbursed pursuant to G.S. 138-6 unless the local board adopts a travel policy that conforms to the travel policy of the appointing authority and such policy is approved by the appointing authority. The local board shall annually provide the appointing authority's written confirmation of such approval to the Commission and a copy of the travel policy authorized by the appointing authority. Any excess expenses not covered by the local board's travel policy shall only be paid with the written authorization of the appointing authority's finance officer. A copy of the written authorization for excess expenses shall be submitted to the Commission by the local board within 30 days of approval.
(h) Conflict of Interest. - The provisions of G.S. 18B-201 shall apply to local board members and employees.
(i) Bond. - Each local board member and the employees designated as the general manager and finance officer of the local board shall be bonded in an amount not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) secured by a corporate surety, for the faithful performance of his duties. A public employees' blanket position bond in the required amount satisfies the requirements of this subsection. The bond shall be payable to the local board and shall be approved by the appointing authority for the local board. The appointing authority may increase the amount of the bond required for any member or employee who handles board funds.
(j) Limited Liability. - A person serving as a member of a local ABC board shall be immune individually from civil liability for monetary damages, except to the extent covered by insurance, for any act or failure to act arising out of this service, except where the person:
(1) Was not acting within the scope of his official duties;
(2) Was not acting in good faith;
(3) Committed gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct that resulted in the damage or injury;
(4) Derived an improper personal financial benefit from the transaction; or
(5) Incurred the liability from the operation of a motor vehicle.
The immunity in this subsection is personal to the members of local ABC boards, and does not immunize the local ABC board for liability for the acts or omissions of the members of the local ABC board.
(k) (See Editor's note for applicability) Nepotism. - Members of an immediate family shall not be employed within the local board if such employment will result in one member of the immediate family supervising another member of the immediate family, or if one member of the immediate family will occupy a position which has influence over another member's employment, promotion, salary administration, or other related management or personnel considerations. This subsection applies to local board members and employees.
For the purpose of this subsection, the term "immediate family" includes wife, husband, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter. Also included are the step-, half-, and in-law relationships. It also includes other people living in the same household, who share a relationship comparable to immediate family members, if either occupies a position which requires influence over the other's employment, promotion, salary administration, or other related management or personnel considerations.
(l) Local Acts. - Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, this section applies to all local boards. (1981, c. 412, s. 2; c. 747, s. 50; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1262, s. 10; 1989, c. 800, s. 19; 2010-122, ss. 9-16; 2019-182, s. 16(b).)
§ 18B-701. Powers and duties of local ABC boards.
(a) Powers. - A local board shall have authority to do all of the following:
(1) Buy, sell, transport, and possess alcoholic beverages as necessary for the operation of its ABC stores. If a local board provides delivery of spirituous liquor to a mixed beverages permittee, the local board may use its employees or contract with an independent contractor and may charge a fee to the permittee. A mixed beverage permittee may contract with an independent contractor to provide delivery of spirituous liquor from an ABC board's store or warehouse to the permittee's premises.
(2) Adopt rules for its ABC system, subject to the approval of the Commission.
(3) Hire and fire employees for the ABC system.
(4) Designate one employee as manager of the ABC system and determine his responsibilities.
(5) Require bonds of employees as provided in the rules of the Commission.
(6) Operate ABC stores as provided in Article 8.
(7) Issue purchase-transportation permits as provided in Article 4.
(8) Employ local ABC officers or make other provision for enforcement of ABC laws as provided in Article 5.
(9) Borrow money as provided in G.S. 18B-702.
(10) Buy and lease real and personal property, and receive property devised or given, as necessary for the operation of the ABC system.
(11) Invest surplus funds as provided in G.S. 18B-702.
(12) Dispose of property in the same manner as a city council may under Article 12 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes.
(13) Perform any other activity authorized or required by the ABC law.
(b) Duties. - A local board shall have the duty to comply with all rules adopted by the Commission pursuant to this Chapter and meet all standards for performance and training established by the Commission pursuant to G.S. 18B-203(a)(20) and (21). Failure to comply with Commission rules shall be cause for removal. (1937, c. 49, ss. 10, 12; cc. 411, 431; 1939, c. 98; 1957, cc. 1006, 1334; 1963, c. 1119, s. 2; 1967, c. 1178; 1969, cc. 118, 902; 1971, c. 872, s. 1; 1973, cc. 85, 185; c. 1000, ss. 1, 2; 1977, c. 618; 1979, c. 467, s. 20; c. 617; 1981, c. 412, s. 2; 2010-122, s. 17; 2011-284, s. 13; 2019-182, s. 25(a).)
§ 18B-702. Financial operations of local boards.
(a) Generally. - A local board may transact business as a corporate body, except as limited by this section. A local board shall not be considered a public authority under G.S. 159-7(b)(10).
(b) Budget Officer. - The general manager of the local board shall be the budget officer for the local board. In the absence of a general manager, a local board may impose the duties of budget officer on the chairman or any member of the local board or any other employee of the board.
(c) Annual Balanced Budget. - Each local board shall operate under an annual balanced budget administered in accordance with this section. A budget is balanced when the sum of estimated gross revenues and both restricted and unrestricted funds are equal to appropriations. Expenditures shall not exceed the amount of funds received or in reserve for the purpose to which the funds are appropriated. It is the intent of this section that all monies received and expended by a local board should be included in the budget. Therefore, notwithstanding any other provision of law, no local board may expend any monies, regardless of their source, except in accordance with a budget adopted under this section. The budget of a local board shall cover a fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30.
(d) Preparation and Submission of Budget and Budget Message. - Upon receipt of the budget requests and revenue estimates and the financial information supplied by the finance officer, the budget officer shall prepare a budget for consideration by the local board in such form and detail as may have been prescribed by the budget officer or the local board. The budget, together with a budget message, shall be submitted to the local board, the appointing authority, and the Commission not later than June 1. The budget and budget message should, but need not, be submitted at a formal meeting of the board. The budget message should contain a concise explanation of the goals fixed by the budget for the budget year, explain important features of the activities anticipated in the budget, set forth the reasons for stated changes from the previous year in appropriation levels, and explain any major changes in fiscal policy.
(e) Filing and Publication of the Budget. - On the same day the budget officer submits the budget to the local board, the budget officer shall make a copy for public inspection, and it shall remain available for public inspection until the budget is adopted. The budget officer shall make a copy of the budget available to all news media in the county. The budget officer shall also publish a statement that the budget has been submitted to the local board and is available for public inspection in the office of the general manager of the local board. The statement shall also give notice of the time and place of the budget hearing required by subsection (f) of this section.
(f) Budget Hearings. - Before adopting the budget, the board shall hold a public hearing at which time any persons who wish to be heard on the budget may appear.
(g) Adoption of Budget. - Not earlier than 10 days after the day the budget is presented to the board and not later than July 1, the local board shall adopt a budget making appropriations for the budget year in such sums as the board may consider sufficient and proper, whether greater or less than the sums recommended in the budget. The budget shall authorize all financial transactions of the local board. The budget may be in any form that the board considers most efficient in enabling it to make the fiscal policy decisions embodied therein, but it shall make appropriations by department, function, or project and show revenues by major source. The following directions and limitations shall bind the local board in adopting the budget:
(1) The full amount estimated by the finance officer to be required for debt service during the budget year shall be appropriated.
(2) The full amount of any deficit in each fund shall be appropriated.
(3) Working capital funds set aside pursuant to G.S. 18B-805 shall be established by rule of the Commission. "Working capital" means the total of cash, investments, and inventory less all unsecured liabilities. Gross sales means gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages less distributions as defined in G.S. 18B-805(b)(2), (3), (4), and (5). Any expenditure to be charged against working capital funds shall be authorized by resolution of the local board, which resolution shall be deemed an amendment to the budget setting up an appropriation for the object of expenditure authorized. The local board may authorize the budget officer to authorize expenditures from working capital funds subject to such limitations and procedures as it may prescribe. Any such expenditure shall be deemed an amendment and reported to the board at its next regular meeting and recorded in the minutes.
(4) Estimated revenues shall include only those revenues reasonably expected to be realized in the budget year.
(5) Sufficient funds to meet the amounts to be paid during the fiscal year under continuing contracts previously entered into shall be appropriated unless such contract reserves to the local board the right to limit or not to make such appropriation.
(6) The sum of estimated net revenues and appropriated fund balance in each fund shall be equal to appropriations in that fund. Appropriated fund balance in a fund shall not exceed the sum of cash and investments minus the sum of liabilities, encumbrances, and deferred revenues arising from cash receipts, as those figures stand at the close of the fiscal year next preceding the budget year.
The budget shall be entered in the minutes of the local board and within five days after adoption, and copies thereof shall be filed with the finance officer, the budget officer, the appointing authority, and the Commission.
(h) Amendments to the Budget. - Except as otherwise restricted by law, the local board may amend the budget at any time after adoption, in any manner, so long as the budget, as amended, continues to satisfy the requirements of this section. The local board by appropriate resolution may authorize the budget officer to transfer monies from one appropriation to another within the same fund subject to such limitations and procedures as it may prescribe. Any such transfers shall be reported to the local board at its next regular meeting and shall be entered in the minutes. Amendments to the adopted budget shall also be provided to the appointing authority and the Commission.
(i) Interim Budget. - In case the adoption of the budget is delayed until after July 1, the local board shall make interim appropriations for the purpose of paying salaries, debt service payments, and the usual ordinary expenses of the local board for the interval between the beginning of the budget year and the adoption of the budget. Interim appropriations so made shall be charged to the proper appropriations in the adopted budget.
(j) Finance Officer. - Except as otherwise provided, the local board shall designate (i) a part-time or full-time employee of the board other than the general manager or (ii) the finance officer of the appointing authority with consent of the appointing authority to be the finance officer for the local board. The Commission, for good cause shown, may grant a waiver to allow the general manager of a board also to be the finance officer. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, the fact that the board operates no more than two stores, and any approval for the general manager also to be the finance officer shall apply until the board operates more than two stores; in any event, the approval shall be effective for 36 months. The Commission may grant one or more waivers to a board.
(k) Duties and Powers of the Finance Officer. - The finance officer for a local board shall:
(1) Keep the accounts of the local board in accordance with generally accepted principles of governmental accounting and the rules and regulations of the Commission.
(2) Disburse all funds of the local board in strict compliance with this Chapter, the budget, preaudit obligations, and disbursements as required by this section.
(3) As often as may be requested by the local board or the general manager, prepare and file with the board a statement of the financial condition of the local board.
(4) Receive and deposit all monies accruing to the local board, or supervise the receipt and deposit of money by other duly authorized employees.
(5) Maintain all records concerning the debt and other obligations of the local board, determine the amount of money that will be required for debt service or the payment of other obligations during each fiscal year, and maintain all funds.
(6) Supervise the investment of idle funds of the local board pursuant to subsection (t) of this section.
The finance officer shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by law, by the general manager, budget officer, or local board, or by rules and regulations of the Commission.
(l) Accounting System. - Each local board shall establish and maintain an accounting system designed to show in detail its assets, liabilities, equities, revenues, and expenditures. The system shall also be designed to show appropriations and estimated revenues as established in the budget originally adopted and subsequently amended.
(m) Incurring Obligations. - No obligation may be incurred in a program, function, or activity accounted for in a fund included in the budget unless the budget includes an appropriation authorizing the obligation and an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay in the current fiscal year the sums obligated by the transaction for the current fiscal year. No obligation may be incurred for a capital project unless the budget authorizes the obligation and an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay the sums obligated by the transaction. If an obligation is evidenced by a contract or agreement requiring the payment of money or by a purchase order for supplies and materials, the contract, agreement, or purchase order shall include on its face a certificate stating that the instrument has been preaudited to assure compliance with this subsection. The certificate, which shall be signed by the finance officer or any deputy finance officer approved for this purpose by the local board, shall take substantially the following form:
"This instrument has been preaudited in the manner required by G.S. 18B-702.
(Signature of finance officer)."
An obligation incurred in violation of this subsection is invalid and may not be enforced. The finance officer shall establish procedures to assure compliance with this subsection.
(n) Disbursements. - When a bill, invoice, or other claim against a local board is presented, the finance officer shall either approve or disapprove the necessary disbursement. If the claim involves a program, function, or activity accounted for in a fund included in the budget or a capital project or a grant project authorized by the budget, the finance officer may approve the claim only if:
(1) The finance officer determines the amount to be payable; and
(2) The budget includes an appropriation authorizing the expenditure and either (i) an encumbrance has been previously created for the transaction or (ii) an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay the amount to be disbursed.
A bill, invoice, or other claim may not be paid unless it has been approved by the finance officer or, under subsection (o) of this section, by the local board. The finance officer shall establish procedures to assure compliance with this subsection.
(o) Local Board Approval of Bills, Invoices, or Claims. - The local board may, as permitted by this subsection, approve a bill, invoice, or other claim against the local board that has been disapproved by the finance officer. It may not approve a claim for which no appropriation appears in the budget, or for which the appropriation contains no encumbrance and the unencumbered balance is less than the amount to be paid. The local board shall approve payment by formal resolution stating the board's reasons for allowing the bill, invoice, or other claim. The resolution shall be entered in the minutes together with the names of those voting in the affirmative. The chairman of the board or some other member designated for this purpose shall sign the certificate on the check or draft given in payment of the bill, invoice, or other claim. If payment results in a violation of law, each member of the board voting to allow payment is jointly and severally liable for the full amount of the check or draft given in payment.
(p) Checks or Drafts Signed by Finance Officer. - Except as otherwise provided by law, all checks or drafts on an official depository shall be signed by the finance officer or a properly designated deputy finance officer. The chairman of the local board or general manager of the local board shall countersign these checks and drafts. The Commission may waive the requirements of this subsection if the board determines that the internal control procedures of the unit or authority will be satisfactory in the absence of dual signatures.
(q) Payment of a Bill, Invoice, Salary, or Claim. - A local board may not pay a bill, invoice, salary, or other claim except by a check or draft on an official depository or by a bank wire transfer from an official depository. Except as provided in this subsection, each check or draft on an official depository shall bear on its face a certificate signed by the finance officer or a deputy finance officer approved for this purpose by the local board (or signed by the chairman or some other member of the board pursuant to subsection (o) of this section). The certificate shall take substantially the following form
"This disbursement has been approved in the manner required by G.S. 18B-702.
(Signature of finance officer)."
No certificate is required on payroll checks or drafts on an imprest account in an official depository if the check or draft depositing the funds in the imprest account carried a signed certificate. No certificate is required for expenditures of fifty dollars ($50.00) or less from a petty cash fund, provided the expenditure is accounted for by a receipt for the expended item.
(r) Borrowing Money. - A local board may borrow money only for the purchase of land, buildings, equipment and stock needed for the operation of its ABC system. A local board may pledge a security interest in any real or personal property it owns other than alcoholic beverages. A city or county whose governing body appoints a local board shall not in any way be held responsible for the debts of that board.
(s) Audits. - A local board shall submit to the appointing authority and Commission an annual independent audit of its operations, performed in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and in compliance with a chart of accounts prescribed by the Commission. The audit report shall contain a summary of the requirements of this Chapter, or of any local act applicable to that local board, concerning the distribution of profits of that board and a description of how those distributions have been made, including the names of recipients of the profits and the activities for which the funds were distributed. A local board shall also submit to any other audits and submit any reports demanded by the appointing authority or the Commission.
(t) Deposits and Investments. - A local board may deposit monies at interest in any bank or trust company in this State in the form of savings accounts or certificates of deposit. Investment deposits shall be secured as provided in G.S. 159-31(b) and the reports required by G.S. 159-33 shall be submitted. A local board may invest all or part of the cash balance of any fund as provided in G.S. 159-30(c) and (d), and may deposit any portion of those funds for investment with the State Treasurer in the same manner as State boards and commissions under G.S. 147-69.3.
(u) Compliance with Commission Rules. - The Commission shall adopt, and each local board shall comply with, fiscal control rules concerning the borrowing of money, maintenance of working capital, investments, appointment of a budget officer, appointment of a financial officer, daily deposit of funds, bonding of employees, auditing of operations, and the schedule, manner and other procedures for distribution of profits. The Commission may also adopt any other rules concerning the financial operations of local boards which are needed to assure the proper accountability of public funds. The Commission may vary these rules and regulations according to any other criteria reasonably related to the purpose or complexity of the financial operations involved. The Commission has the authority to inquire into and investigate the internal control procedures of a local board and may require any modifications in internal control procedures which, in the opinion of the Commission, are necessary or desirable to prevent embezzlements or mishandling of public monies.
(v) Penalties. - If a board member or employee of a local board incurs an obligation or pays out or causes to be paid out any funds in violation of this section, the member or employee and the sureties on the official bond are liable for any sums so committed or disbursed. If the finance officer or any properly designated deputy finance officer gives a false certificate to any contract, agreement, purchase order, check, draft, or other document, the finance officer and the sureties on the official bond are liable for any sums illegally committed or disbursed thereby.
(w) Applicability of Criminal Statutes. - The provisions of G.S. 14-90 and G.S. 14-254 shall apply to any person appointed to or employed by a local board, and any person convicted of a violation of G.S. 14-90 or G.S. 14-254 shall be punished as a Class H felon.
(x) Local Acts. - Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, this section applies to all local boards. (1937, c. 49, ss. 10, 12; cc. 411, 431; 1939, c. 98; 1957, cc. 1006, 1335; 1963, c. 1119, s. 2; 1967, c. 1178; 1969, cc. 118, 902; 1971, c. 872, s. 1; 1973, cc. 85, 185; c. 1000, ss. 1, 2; 1977, c. 618; 1979, c. 467, s. 20; c. 617; 1981, c. 412, s. 2; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1262, s. 11; 1991, c. 459, s. 2; 2010-122, s. 18; 2012-4, s. 2.)
§ 18B-703. Merger of local ABC operations.
(a) Conditions for Merger. - Any city governing body or board of county commissioners may merge its ABC system with the system of one or more other cities or counties if:
(1) Stores operated by the systems of those jurisdictions serve the same general area or are in close proximity to each other; and
(2) The merger is approved by the Commission.
(b) Appointment of Board. - Upon merger of ABC systems, the local boards for those systems shall be replaced by one board appointed jointly by the appointing authorities for the previous boards.
(c) Distribution of Profits. - Before merger, the cities or counties involved shall agree upon a formula for distribution of the profits of the new merged ABC system, based as closely as practicable on the distribution previously authorized for the separate systems. This formula for distribution shall be subject to approval by the Commission.
(d) Enforcement. - Local officers hired by the local ABC board for the merged ABC system shall have the same territorial jurisdiction that officers for each of the merged boards would have.
(e) Dissolution. - Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, with the approval of the Commission, the cities or counties that have merged their ABC systems may dissolve the merged operation at any time and resume their prior separate operations. A city or county that has merged with another local board pursuant to the requirements of G.S. 18B-700(c1) may only dissolve a merged operation if one of the following applies:
(1) The city or county is merging with a different local board.
(2) The city or county is ceasing operation of all ABC stores within the city or county.
(f) Other Details Negotiated. - Issues not addressed in this section concerning the merger or dissolution of ABC systems, such as the method of appointment of the merged board, the size of the merged board, or the procedure for dissolution, may be negotiated by the affected cities and counties, subject to the approval of the Commission.
(g) Operation Follows General Law. - Except as otherwise provided in this section, the authority and operation of any local board established under this section shall be the same as for any other local board.
(h) Agreement for Joint Store Operations. - With the approval of the Commission, two or more governing bodies of counties and/or municipalities with ABC systems may enter into a written agreement whereby one or more ABC stores located within the counties and/or municipalities that are parties to the agreement shall be controlled and operated by the local ABC board specified in the agreement, even though said ABC store or stores are located outside the boundaries of the county or municipality of the local ABC board that will be operating the ABC store or stores that are subject to the agreement. The provisions of this section shall be effective as to such agreements insofar as is applicable. Issues not addressed in this section shall be negotiated by the parties, subject to the approval of the Commission. (1981, c. 412, s. 2; c. 747, s. 51; 2001-128, s. 1; 2019-182, s. 16(c).)
§ 18B-704. Removal of local board members and employees.
(a) Improper Influence. - Neither the Commission nor its individual members shall attempt to coerce any appointing authority to appoint a particular person as a member of a local board or attempt to coerce a local board to employ any particular applicant.
(b) Purpose. - This section is intended to provide a uniform system of removal for appointing authorities and the Commission.
(c) Cause for Removal. - (i) Disqualification of a local board member or employee under the law, (ii) a violation of the ABC laws, (iii) failure to complete training required by this Chapter or the Commission, or (iv) engaging in any conduct constituting moral turpitude or which brings the local board or the ABC system into disrepute is cause for the Commission to remove any member or employee of a local board. The employment or retention of any employee who is known to be disqualified under the law to hold a position with a local board is cause for the Commission to remove the board members involved.
(d) Removal Process. - The Commission or appointing authority shall provide, in writing, to the local board member or employee the findings of fact upon which the decision for removal is based. The Commission or appointing authority shall also provide the local board member or employee with notice of the availability of a hearing before the Commission to review the removal.
(e) Removal Hearing. - Any local board member or employee removed from office or discharged by the Commission or the appointing authority may request a hearing before the Commission. Such a request operates to stay the action of the Commission or the appointing authority with regard to the matter until after the hearing, unless the Commission finds that the public interest requires immediate action. At the hearing, the employee or the employee's counsel may examine all evidence used against the employee and present evidence in the employee's own behalf. A removal hearing is not subject to the provisions of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. All hearings shall be conducted informally and in such manner as to preserve the substantial rights of the parties.
(f) Hearing Procedure. - The Commission shall hold the hearing required by subsection (e) of this section within 15 days of the member's or employee's request for a hearing. The standard of review by the Commission is de novo. The Commission or appointing authority shall be represented by a Commission hearing officer. The Commission shall discharge the member or employee if two-thirds of the Commission's members vote for removal. The Commission shall make findings of fact. The Commission may adopt the findings of fact of the Commission or the appointing authority, may add new findings of fact to the original findings of fact, or may substitute new findings of fact for the original findings of fact. The Commission shall make conclusions of law and shall issue a written decision to the member or employee of the local board, and to the appointing authority, within 15 days of the hearing.
(g) Commission Authority. - The Commission shall have the sole power, in its discretion, to determine if cause exists for removal of a local board member or employee who has requested a hearing before the Commission. The Commission's decision in a removal hearing is final.
(h) Appeal. - A local board member or employee may appeal the Commission's final decision to the Court of Appeals. The standard of review for an appeal shall be abuse of discretion. The sole remedy for a local board member or employee shall be the reinstatement of the board member or employee to the local board with back pay. All awards for back pay shall be paid by the local board from which the board member or employee was removed.
(i) Removal Hearing Not a Substitute for Termination of Employee. - Nothing in this section replaces or is intended to replace a local board's policy regarding the termination of an employee for personnel reasons. The removal process under this section is reserved solely for the appointing authority or the Commission to remove a board member or employee for cause.
(j) Local Acts. - Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, this section applies to all local boards. (2010-122, s. 19.)
§ 18B-705. Compliance with performance standards; remedies.
(a) Local Board Compliance. - The Commission shall establish performance standards pursuant to G.S. 18B-203(a)(20). The Commission shall ensure that all local boards comply with established performance standards by conducting regular or special audits, conducting performance evaluations, or taking other measures, which may include inspections by Commission auditors or alcohol law enforcement agents.
(b) Performance Improvement Plans. - The Commission, upon determining that a local board is failing to meet performance standards established pursuant to G.S. 18B-203(a)(20), shall meet with the chair of the local board and the appointing authority and issue a statement of findings. The appointing authority, in consultation with the Commission and the local board, shall develop and deliver a performance improvement plan to the local board within 60 days of the meeting with the Commission. The performance improvement plan shall include, but not be limited to, recommendations for improved performance based on the performance standards established by the Commission. The plan shall also state a period of time in which the performance improvements are to occur and what action will be taken by the Commission if performance standards are not met within the given time limits. The appointing authority shall allow up to, but no more than, 12 months' time to the local board to implement and show improvement under the performance improvement plan. The local appointing authority, in consultation with the Commission and upon good cause shown, may allow up to an additional six-month period of time for the local board to meet all requirements in the performance improvement plan and to establish that the performance standards established by the Commission are met.
(c) Remedies. - If the Commission determines that the established performance standards identified in the statement of findings cannot be met after a performance improvement plan has been implemented and adequate time has been given, but in no case less than 12 months, the Commission shall take appropriate action to avoid insolvency. This action may include closing the board pursuant to G.S. 18B-801(d), closing a store or multiple stores, or merging the local board with another local board in order to maintain solvency. The Commission may also seize the assets of the local board and liquidate any assets necessary to satisfy any debt in order to maintain the solvency of the local board. Prior to taking action pursuant to this subsection, the Commission shall issue a notice of intent to take such action to the appointing authority and the local board.
(d) Local Acts. - Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, this section applies to all local boards. (2010-122, s. 20.)
§ 18B-706. Ethics requirements for local boards.
(a) Each local board shall adopt a policy containing a code of ethics, consistent with the provisions of G.S. 18B-201, to guide actions by the local board members and employees of the local board in the performance of their official duties. The policy shall address at least all of the following:
(1) The need to obey all applicable laws regarding official actions taken as a local board member or employee.
(2) The need to uphold the integrity and independence of the local board member or employee's position.
(3) The need to avoid impropriety in the exercise of official duties.
(4) The need to faithfully perform the duties of the position.
(5) The need to conduct the affairs of the board in an open and public manner, including complying with all applicable laws governing open meetings and public records.
(b) Each member of a local board shall receive a minimum of two hours of ethics education within 12 months after initial appointment to the office and again within 12 months after each subsequent appointment to the office. The ethics education shall cover laws and principles that govern conflicts of interest and ethical standards of conduct for local ABC boards. The education may be provided by the Commission or another qualified source approved by the Commission. The local board shall maintain a record verifying receipt of the ethics education by each member of the local board. The local board may require appropriate ethics training and education for employees of the local ABC board.
(c) The Commission shall develop a model ethics policy that local ABC boards may adopt to be in compliance with this section. (2010-122, s. 21.)
§§ 18B-707 through 18B-799. Reserved for future codification purposes.