State News

Retiring liquor board head repaid $23,000 bonus

Posted February 19, 2010 8:02 a.m. EST
Updated February 19, 2010 9:43 a.m. EST

— The New Hanover liquor board administrator who was paid nearly $280,000 a year to manage its stores has quietly repaid a bonus days before he retires.

The StarNews of Wilmington reported Friday that New Hanover County Alcoholic Beverage Control administrator Billy Williams repaid the liquor board nearly $23,000, the amount he received after taxes from his latest $30,000 bonus.

Williams said he returned the money because he thought it was something he needed to do.

The 63-year-old Williams retires next Friday after 42 years in the booze business.

All three members of the new Hanover County ABC board resigned after WRAL Investigates reported that Williams had an annual salary of $232,200, and his son, Bradley, was paid $115,500 a year as assistant ABC administrator. Both men also collected hefty annual bonuses.

Williams was the highest-paid ABC administrator in the state, despite the fact that areas like Mecklenburg County sold far more liquor, according to WRAL Investigates.

ABC liquor stores across the state have a wide range of employee salaries and policies. Fewer than half of the 163 local boards said they have salary policies, and a little more than half have an ethics policy in place.