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Input sought on liquor department operations

An open forum on the county Department of Liquor Control will be held this month as part of a performance audit of the department, according to an announcement from Maui County Council Chairman Mike White.

Liquor licensees and members of the general public are encouraged to attend the meeting scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 26 at the Kihei Community Center.

Last year, the department came under fire publicly after the commission approved rule changes eliminating dry hours for alcohol sales at retail stores and hotels, permitting home delivery of alcoholic beverages and removing the more than three-decade-old cap on the number of hostess bars in the county. The rule changes were eventually reversed.

Later, the department drew the ire of nonprofit groups about procedural changes in the way the department processed permits to sell alcohol at one-day events. Nonprofit officials said that the administrative rules, which included a requirement for background checks and fingerprinting, were onerous and jeopardized their fundraising efforts.

Eventually, the requirements for background checks, Social Security numbers and fingerprinting were eliminated under public pressure.

Now, public comments are being sought on the department’s efficiency, effectiveness and fairness. The June 26 forum will be facilitated by council consultants.

People unable to attend the meeting may submit written comments to Admin@harveyrose.com.

The center is at 303 E. Lipoa St.