02/03/10 — As plain as 1, 2, 3: ABC boards are scary sign that government is out of control

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As plain as 1, 2, 3: ABC boards are scary sign that government is out of control

It seems that Wayne County is one of the lucky ones.

This week's presentation by the chief of the area's ABC board suggests that his group is operating within the law and reasonably.

Mike Myrick made sure that all the numbers were out there for the public to see and cautioned county commissioners not to jump to conclusions about all ABC boards just because of the incredible incompetence that has been the hallmark of others.

And that is a fair request. Wayne County residents should not decide that all ABC boards are operating without regard for the taxpayers' dime just because one in Wilmington seemed to be living high on the hog.

But on the other hand ...

With every passing day, there seems to be some news about corruption somewhere -- and lately, more and more of that news is coming out of Raleigh.

The ABC board scandals might not be a red flag for residents and local lawmakers to look closer at the local operations, but it is certainly a reason to pause and to look around.

When government is allowed to operate unchecked, and people are put into positions of power without direct supervision, bad stuff happens.

And, unfortunately, when bad stuff happens, it generally costs taxpayers money.

The poor judgment calls and the unchecked power at some ABC boards is just one example of a bunch of concerns North Carolina residents have had about who is taking care of their money these days.

And, unfortunately, they cannot always count on those who are supposed to be watching.

This might be a good time to review all agencies that are handed a taxpayer-funded budget and all those who take money to serve in the public's interest.

It would be nice to know who is acting responsibly and who is trying to get away with something -- before it costs local and state taxpayers any more money.

We have learned during the past couple of years that turning a blind eye to government is not a good idea. This is just one more warning to be vigilant whenever someone takes charge of our money.

Published in Editorials on February 3, 2010 11:09 AM