§ 18B-704.  Removal of local board members and employees.

(a)        Improper Influence. -  Neither the Commission nor its individual members shall attempt to coerce any appointing authority to appoint a particular person as a member of a local board or attempt to coerce a local board to employ any particular applicant.

(b)        Purpose. - This section is intended to provide a uniform system of removal for appointing authorities and the Commission.

(c)        Cause for Removal. - (i) Disqualification of a local board member or employee under the law, (ii) a violation of the ABC laws, (iii) failure to complete training required by this Chapter or the Commission, or (iv) engaging in any conduct constituting moral turpitude or which brings the local board or the ABC system into disrepute is cause for the Commission to remove any member or employee of a local board. The employment or retention of any employee who is known to be disqualified under the law to hold a position with a local board is cause for the Commission to remove the board members involved.

(d)       Removal Process. - The Commission or appointing authority shall provide, in writing, to the local board member or employee the findings of fact upon which the decision for removal is based. The Commission or appointing authority shall also provide the local board member or employee with notice of the availability of a hearing before the Commission to review the removal.

(e)        Removal Hearing. - Any local board member or employee removed from office or discharged by the Commission or the appointing authority may request a hearing before the Commission. Such a request operates to stay the action of the Commission or the appointing authority with regard to the matter until after the hearing, unless the Commission finds that the public interest requires immediate action. At the hearing, the employee or the employee's counsel may examine all evidence used against the employee and present evidence in the employee's own behalf. A removal hearing is not subject to the provisions of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. All hearings shall be conducted informally and in such manner as to preserve the substantial rights of the parties.

(f)        Hearing Procedure. - The Commission shall hold the hearing required by subsection (e) of this section within 15 days of the member's or employee's request for a hearing. The standard of review by the Commission is de novo. The Commission or appointing authority shall be represented by a Commission hearing officer. The Commission shall discharge the member or employee if two-thirds of the Commission's members vote for removal. The Commission shall make findings of fact. The Commission may adopt the findings of fact of the Commission or the appointing authority, may add new findings of fact to the original findings of fact, or may substitute new findings of fact for the original findings of fact. The Commission shall make conclusions of law and shall issue a written decision to the member or employee of the local board, and to the appointing authority, within 15 days of the hearing.

(g)        Commission Authority. - The Commission shall have the sole power, in its discretion, to determine if cause exists for removal of a local board member or employee who has requested a hearing before the Commission. The Commission's decision in a removal hearing is final.

(h)        Appeal. - A local board member or employee may appeal the Commission's final decision to the Court of Appeals. The standard of review for an appeal shall be abuse of discretion. The sole remedy for a local board member or employee shall be the reinstatement of the board member or employee to the local board with back pay. All awards for back pay shall be paid by the local board from which the board member or employee was removed.

(i)         Removal Hearing Not a Substitute for Termination of Employee. - Nothing in this section replaces or is intended to replace a local board's policy regarding the termination of an employee for personnel reasons. The removal process under this section is reserved solely for the appointing authority or the Commission to remove a board member or employee for cause.

(j)         Local Acts. - Notwithstanding the provisions of any local act, this section applies to all local boards.  (2010-122, s. 19.)