Between The Lines

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The future of the Liquor Control Board for Worcester County will likely be decided this month with the release of the Comptroller’s Office report on its extensive investigation. The report’s contents have been heavily concealed in the wake of the nine-month investigation into the local dispensary and its operations. As expected with such a heavily anticipated report, the rumor mill has been in full swing. Some allege a smoking gun have been discovered that will make dissolving the LCB the only logical option, while others say some missteps have been discovered but nothing serious enough to warrant ending the operation.

One aspect I expect and hope will come from this report is a thorough accounting of a number of allegations that were made this summer. It’s well-known Comptroller’s Office investigator Tony Hatcher was pummeled with numerous weighty allegations, like this newspaper was, many of which he looked into extensively and investigated. Some reportedly turned up nothing, while others apparently were found to have some merit. The good, the bad and the ugly, and everything in between, should be documented in detail in the report. Anything less will be disappointing.

A lot is weighing on this report, most importantly the future of the county’s dispensary and the entire makeup of the system, and with that comes considerable financial ramifications. Sources contend there is damaging material included in the report on the LCB. How consequential the report will be in the grand scheme of how liquor is handled in this county is the big unknown. The good news is the wait is almost complete; as we will soon learn what exactly the extensive probe uncovered and should soon after know what exactly the future holds for the LCB.

With change often comes great pain, and that’s surely going to be the case in Ocean City.

The resort is essentially altering nearly all aspects of its employee operations, and the City Council is divided on how to go about it. There seems to be consensus among the city’s elected officials that the current pay structure and benefit plan needs to be altered, but the methods are divisive. Nearly every vote held on matters, such as new hire pay, health insurance contributions, 401Ks and vacation and sick days, were resolved in a 4-3 vote this week. That’s not surprising, but it was interesting that all this took place while Mayor Rick Meehan was on vacation.

There’s no question Meehan would have been in the minority in this conversation on most matters, and that along with the fact these weighty issues were discussed and decided in absence weighed heavily on those in attendance, particularly the cops and paramedics who will soon be negotiating a new labor deal. Typically, the mayor plays a pivotal role in those discussions. Surely, that will still be the case, but the fact the discourse on compensation issues was held without him Tuesday was not lost on those folks.

I have been on the road a lot lately and I can’t help but notice how most of us continue to talk on our cell phones, as well as check messages and texts, while driving. At one point, at a stop light in Baltimore City, I reached down to check my messages. Upon looking to my left and right for a cop, I realized one guy was furiously typing on his iPhone and the other was ranting and raving on his handheld phone.

I admit I am often guilty of talking on my phone while driving, and the fact is until it’s a primary offense that’s going to continue to be the case for most of us. In the meantime, while I am busy talking on my phone, I do make sure to come to complete stops, obey the speed limit and not run any lights. That way I can’t get pulled over and given a citation for talking on my phone.

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