My Turn, Your Turn: ABC salaries

By Gary McNair - bio|email

Like so many of you, I was surprised to learn how much the man who runs the ABC stores in New Hanover County is making.  He is pulling down more than $230,000 for managing the liquor business and a handful of stores in this area.

I started wondering if maybe they were serving the product during their board meetings.  It does, after all, appear that logical thinking was being impaired by something.

I guess the liquor business around here does very well, but is that a reason to get way out of whack with what you are paying people?  How's this for a compensation policy?  We pay more than we should, because we can.

The good news is there may be a silver lining in this incident.

The New Hanover County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is providing a sobering lesson for all people who serve in positions that make decisions about spending money that comes from the public.

Make those decisions as if they will be the lead story in the local news that day and you feel confident you can satisfy the majority of the people who provided the money – be it taxes, donations or sales revenue.  It's that simple.  Be accountable to the people who are really paying the bills.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

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Emailed response from viewers:

What does this man do for $232,000? This is $58,000 per year for a 4 families! Or, This is $29,000 for eight families! I bet The custodians do not even make the $29,000 figure. This means the beverages are WAY over priced. I have never been in a beverage store but, I would love to do a work audit on this man!


His salary (and his son's) is totally out of line! Operating a few liquor stores is not rocket science! These salaries need to be substantially cut, immediately! The board probably needs to be replaced. This story is similar to what has happened with the financial markets where some bonuses paid to executives and brokers were more that the total income of the corporations! Totally absurd!


It is amazing considering what we are willing to pay teachers, cops and fire fighters isn't?!!!!


I believe that the Star News started looking at it because WRAL TV started looking into it in the first place which got it noticed by the governor. Why do these revelations always come from journalists? Why aren't the state and local governments having independent audits performed of their operations, as is done in normal businesses? What can we do to demand that this is done on a regular basis?


I do not agree with these salaries.  The one running it makes over 230,000 a year and just got a $30,000.00 bonus on top of that, plus his son is pulling down a 6 figure salary, and he got a bonus of $20,000.00.  This is a monopoly and of course they are going to make money.  The ABC Board that appointed them and both of them need to go.  Under the By-laws, you cannot get rid of them unless they break the law. So, we are stuck with them, all of them.

There are top people at New Hanover Medical Center that do not make what this guy makes or his son, and they are making and dealing with life and death decisions daily.  Needles to say New Hanover County's priorities are mixed up. What happened to common sense?

If you think the Commissioners are going to do anything, forget it.  What we saw on Monday night's meeting, should have been no surprise to anyone.  Let's act like we are concerned, but not concerned enough to do anything. In other words, business as usual.

Welcome to totalitarianism democracy,  a modern autocratic government in which the state involves itself in all facets of society, including the daily life of its citizens. No individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual's life to the authority of the government. A totalitarian government seeks to control not only all economic and political matters but the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population, erasing the distinction between state and society.

I believe our elective officials have forgotten who they work for.

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