Selectman finally do the right thing

I just got today's Acton Beacon and read that the Acton Board of Selectmen has overhauled how it handles potential liquor license violations. Better late than never. It is great that the Selectmen have finally admitted that the old system was flawed and have made the necessary improvements, at least as I read them in the article.

The new procedure is to have a town subcommittee made up of one Selectman, the Town Manager, and the Chief of police, who would make a preliminary determination if a violation had occurred. If so, the matter would be referred to the full Board of Selectmen for a legal hearing and determination.

This allows defendants to make their case in private, without a lawyer if they so choose, and hear the evidence against them and get to present their evidence and get feedback from the subcommittee. If the matter is referred to the full Board, the liquor licensee can get legal counsel, do more research, or take other actions in advance of the meeting.

Under the old system, licensees would appear before the board, often bewildered, unprepared, and without legal counsel, and would have a determination made that evening which could result in the potential loss of their business if their liquor license was revoked. This happened to the Makaha restaurant and it required an appeal to the Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) to overturn the BOS's order. Acton Forum did several articles on this and determined that the evidence used by the BOS in making its determination that Makaha had committed a violation was flawed, yet the Town refused to admit its error and forced the Makaha to conduct an appeal hearing before the ABCC.

The new process would "only bring a violation before the board if there is solid evidence of one." That is, of course, the way it should work. It should also prevent hearings when there is no credible evidence that any wrongdoing had occurred.

Congratulations to the Board of Selectmen for making this change. Now are they going to reimburse the Makaha for the loss of business and reputation based on their flawed process in the past?

To read the last article on the Makaha ABCC finding, click here:

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