City to crack down on alcohol clerks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City to crack down on alcohol clerks

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September 15, 2003

Albany-- City leaders want to crack down on people who sell alcohol to underage drinkers. The Underage Drinking Law Coalition is expected to make a new licensing recommendation to the public safety committee Tuesday.

City officials say it's become too easy for underage drinkers to get their hands on alcohol. "We have a bad, bad problem with this in Albany. People have been killed," says Mayor Tommy Coleman.

Coleman says he supports the new licensing recommendation of the Underage Drinking Law Coalition. "We would also license and do a background check on the clerk or provider, the person who's actually doing the selling, as well as licensing the business," Coleman explains.

And it's often those businesses that take the most heat when their employees violate the law.

Wanda Young, a manager at Woodall's, says she supports the idea. "I think whoever sells the beer to underage minors should be responsible for it and not the owner, because it's not the owner's fault that the cashier sold it to them," she says.

Under the proposed plan, clerks who sell to teens would still be prosecuted in municipal court. "What would change is that if you happen to be prosecuted for that or anything else, we would know it because you'd have to put that on your license, you'd have to give permission for us to do a background check, and we would not grant a license to somebody who didn't have the character," adds Coleman.

Something Coleman believes will make buying booze harder for underage drinkers.

The city of Sylvester has a similar licensing program in place. Coleman says it could take several meetings before commissioners actually vote on the new plan.

posted at 5:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com