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Though a hearing hasn’t been called in at least a year, Mayor Anthony Calderone said his responsibilities as liquor commissioner are becoming a burden. To lighten the load, Calderone is expected to hire a liquor adjudicator who will weigh the merits of any suspected violations. The position is a new one created with the unanimous approval of the village council earlier this month.

In addition to serving as the village’s mayor, Calderone also holds the title of liquor commissioner. He alone has the authority to issue and revoke liquor licenses; the number of licenses available is set by local ordinance. Calderone is also responsible for issuing any fines or suspensions in the event of a violation. The mayor draws a $10,000 annual salary as the liquor commissioner.

During a discussion of the mayor’s proposal at the Nov. 13 council meeting, Calderone said the task of convening a hearing to consider alleged license violations is interfering with his other responsibilities as mayor. However, Calderone acknowledged during the discussion of his proposal that few hearings have been held in the last two years.

After the council vote, Calderone said he has not convened a hearing as the liquor commissioner in at least 12 months.

“It’s strictly my opinion. I feel it is needed,” Calderone said of the position.

The mayor also suggested that hiring an adjudicator with a background in law, such as a retired judge, would help protect the village’s interests should a business owner hire an attorney to fight a citation.

“The law field is getting a little more technical today,” Calderone said.

Questioned after the vote, the mayor said he cannot remember an attorney ever being hired to defend an entrepreneur against a citation, nor is he aware of any pending cases in which an attorney has been hired. According to the mayor there are approximately a handful of cases awaiting adjudication.

Commissioners Mark Hosty and Marty Tellalian questioned how the position would be funded and what the pay would be. Those issues were left largely unresolved, but it is expected the new position will receive an hourly wage paid only when a hearing is convened. No pay scale was set by the village council.

The mayor will continue to hold the title of liquor commissioner, as established by local ordinance, and said he will collect the salary associated with the position. The adjudicator will make sentencing recommendations to the mayor.

Commissioner Rory Hoskins abstained from the vote.


Correction

A page 9 story in the Nov. 21 issue incorrectly reported that a local ordinance dictates the mayor must also hold the title of liquor commissioner. That responsibility is assigned to the mayor by state law. This error was repeated in an editorial printed on the same date.