Best Musical Chairs: Baltimore City Liquor Board

There was a reform, then a counter-reformation, then a counter-counter-reformation, and while the Liquor Board went through all the machinations in the struggle for reform (or was it power they were after?) the bars stayed open throughout. The Liquor Board, a state agency that enforces the city’s myriad booze-related laws, got three new members after Judge Thomas Ward retired in July 2015. Ward figured incoming Gov. Larry Hogan would install cream puffs, and so incoming board members Benjamin Neil, Douglas Trotter, and Elizabeth Hafey did not often disappoint bar owners. But they (or Hogan) did apparently upset their most important constituency: State Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who engineered their ouster and decreed that outgoing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and City Council would pick the new members. As of April 11, the board disappeared (along with Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth), before being reconstituted just in time for a scathing June audit. Former Court of Special Appeals Judge Albert Matricciani Jr., Dana P. Moore (a Liquor Board veteran), and Aaron Greenfield stepped into the breach. The bars stayed open. The excellent ones and the crappy ones. Which is probably a good thing, because, more than ever, the citizens watching this endless fiasco need a drink.

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