DABC offers employee buyouts to deal with budget cuts

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s liquor control authority is offering long-serving employees a retirement incentive to deal with a $500,000 budget cut the agency claims was imposed by the state legislature.

A memo obtained by FOX 13 late Friday revealed Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Executive Director Sal Petilos is offering an $8,000 incentive for qualified employees who retire by August 1. The employees have until June 19 to give notice in writing.

“This is a one-time incentive based on availability of funds,” Petilos wrote in the memo.

DABC spokeswoman Vickie Ashby confirmed the buyout offer to FOX 13.

“We’ve offered a retirement incentive for our employees,” she said. “It’s to meet our $500,000 budget shortfall.”

Despite generating millions of dollars in profits year over year from state-controlled liquor sales, the DABC does not control its own budget. All liquor sales go toward the state’s general fund, public safety, and school lunches. Faced with a half-million dollar cut to its budget this year, the DABC has sliced security contracts and floated the idea of employee furloughs.

It’s believed that even with the $8,000 incentive, the agency would ultimately save based on an employee’s salary. A retirement incentive was previously offered in 2011 by interim DABC director Francine Giani, who took control of the agency amid a political scandal surrounding allegations of bid rigging in state contracts (that led to the ouster of the prior director).

Most recently, the agency has been hit with accusations of poor treatment of employees. Senate Minority Whip Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, confronted the DABC Commission about the agency’s morale woes and demanded changes.

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