The scandals emerging from local ABC boards in Wilmington and Charlotte across the state tell us Raleigh certainly has no corner on corruption. Billy Williams, a high school graduate, current ABC administrator in New Hanover County and an ABC employee of 42-years is at the center of much of the storm in Wilmington. According to pay records, Williams is making about $280,000 in salary and bonuses. Yes, that’s right, I said $280,000. His son, Bradley, also an ABC employee is making about $140,000 in salary and bonuses. The public is understandably incensed. Not surprisingly, the elder Mr. Williams has chosen to retire in February. His retirement pay per year: $100,000.
Chair of the State ABC Commission, Jon Williams (no relation, I’m told) said all the right things last week when he criticized the lavish pay and “culture of entitlement” infecting various ABC boards. Williams’ surprise is a surprise to me. If officials had no idea of the problems and corruption, I’d simply ask: how good a job could commissioners been doing? Over a year ago, the Program Evaluation Division published a report highlighting the need for sweeping changes. Again, nothing was done. Now, doing nothing isn’t an option. Let’s hope we get it right this time.