November 9, 2011
OLYMPIA – We are, of course, deeply disappointed by the election results on Initiative 1183.
Weighing most heavily on our hearts and minds are the more than 900 Liquor Control Board employees who will lose their jobs. Our employees have been working under the cloud of initiatives for nearly two years. Despite operating under a microscope, they have carried out their responsibilities with dignity and professionalism. We owe our employees a debt of gratitude for the professional way in which they have conducted themselves during a difficult time.
We will begin moving forward to ensure that we are meeting the timelines established by the initiative. Our goal is to have an orderly transition from public to private business operations. Our agency leaders are meeting now to develop a contingency plan.
- We will continue to maximize revenue in responsible ways through the holiday season.
- In January, our operational focus will be on divesting ourselves from the business as prescribed in the initiative.
- By June 1, 2012, all liquor business operations - including purchasing, distribution and retail -- will be transitioned to the private sector.
Our state liquor stores have among the highest no-sale-to-minors compliance rates in the nation at more than 94 percent. The private sector’s overall compliance rate is 77 percent. As the sale and distribution of liquor will soon be completely in the hands of the private sector, we hope it will treat this public safety responsibility with the utmost importance.
The Liquor Control Board will continue carrying out its highest priority of public safety. While the agency is ending its business operations, it will continue to carry out our enforcement, licensing, adjudicative and policy-setting functions affecting over 16,000 liquor licensees statewide.
Note to Editors: A good source of information will be the Liquor Control Board website at lcb.wa.gov. We will keep the site up-to-date with the latest information regarding the transition.
The Liquor Control Board includes Board Chair Sharon Foster and Board Members Ruthann Kurose and Chris Marr.