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ABC salaries the topic of discussion at heated County Commission meeting


The New Hanover County Commission appoints the ABC Board members, who in turn, hire its employees. Monday night, an ABC Board member admitted that raises for two of its administrators were excessive; especially given the economic climate.

Steve Culbreth, a member of the New Hanover County ABC Board, answered questions from commissioners about salaries of two of the board’s employees. “As we told them, the raise that we gave Mr. Williams at the end of the fiscal year was inappropriate given the fiscal situation,” said Culbreth.

ABC Administrator Billy Williams makes more than $230,000. His son, Brad, pulls in more than $150,000 per year. While the county has required mandatory furlough days for its employees, and has cut positions, the ABC employees got at least a 6% raise last fiscal year.

There are seven ABC stores throughout the county, and according to the board, they are the second most profitable in the state; justifying the substantial yearly pay.

“I think they’re making a good salary, but if not we’ll look in to it,” added Culbreth.

The commission recommended having a yearly meeting to review the ABC Board’s operating procedures.

Some area residents were not happy with that recommendation. Michael Dell said, “We were actually sort of disappointed, or I was disappointed with this meeting.”

Dell is a resident near 17th and Castle streets. ABC purchased that land, but has yet to expand its store that neighbors Dell’s property. Dell, and other nearby residents, would like to see the board re-evaluated.

“I don’t know if the question is with Billy Williams salary. Its that this board, a board which is appointed by the county commissioners, is allowed to just be over-run,” Dell added.

The commissioners will meet with the ABC Board again in ninety days. The commission also recommended the board look at procedures in terms of hiring people who are related.

On another note, Jason Thompson was appointed the new chairman while Jonathan Barfield was appointed new vice chair.

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Story summary

videoThere was a heated New Hanover County Commission meeting Monday night. Commissioners questioned the ABC Board about six figure salaries that have raised some eyebrows.

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