Durham County's ABC manager resigns

May. 03, 2013 @ 07:33 PM

With the results of a state investigation still pending, the Durham County ABC Board has accepted the resignation of its general manager.

Board members announced the prospective departure of General Manager Emily Page late Friday afternoon, making it public first by telling county ABC employees and then, at 5:01 p.m., the news media.

The board’s attorney, former state Rep. George Miller Jr., emailed a news release about the decision to reporters. He declined to elaborate on its contents.

“I have no comment,” Miller said. “The statement speaks for itself.”

The news release said that Page would stay on while the board conducts a search for a new general manager. It also said the board is “committed to a smooth transition to ensure that Durham County ABC operations continue to be effective and efficient.”

The ABC board operates the county’s network of state-owned liquor stores. It answers to the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, which has the legal authority to regulate the sale in North Carolina of alcohol in all its forms.

Commission spokeswoman Agnes Stevens confirmed that the Durham ABC board had notified the state Friday afternoon that Page had submitted her resignation.

The move came a day after county board members held an “emergency meeting” at Miller’s office to “consider a personnel matter.”

It also came some 11 months after state ABC Commission Administrator Mike Herring asked police to investigate Page’s hiring and see whether she’d steered contracts to friends of the county board’s members.

Herring also wanted N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement to find out whether board members and county ABC employees had abused agency credit cards, and whether Page had altered the official minutes of the county ABC board’s meetings.

The investigation began in response to what Stevens last year termed “concerns” raised by “credible sources.”

The probe appears unfinished. “We do not, as far as I’m aware, have that back in hand yet,” Stevens said on Friday.

Page became Durham’s ABC board general manager in October of 2011, replacing former General Manager Randy Mills.

She was chairwoman of the county ABC board when the board hired her, and came to the job with a background as a leadership development consultant. She was a human-resources executive for Nortel during the 1990s.

The profile for Page posted last year on the LinkedIn business-networking didn’t list any prior retail-management experience.

Her relations with at least some county ABC store employees were troubled, to the point that employees retained a lawyer.