68
Beverage Media
March 2013
Rare & Refreshing
NYSLA Chairman Meets
with Retailers Alliance
4
3
2
around
town
1
O
n January 31
st
, the Retail-
ers Alliance welcomed New
York State Liquor Author-
ity (NYSLA) Chairman
Dennis Rosen as a guest at an associa-
tion meeting. Arranged by Retailers Al-
liance President Jeff Saunders, this was
the first time that a meeting like this
had ever taken place. With nearly the
full membership in attendance, the
Chairman spoke briefly and then fielded
questions. His candor was clearly appre-
ciated by every retailer in the room, and
this was one of the most productive and
informative meetings of the Alliance in
recent memory.
As background, when Dennis Rosen
was appointed Chairman of the NYSLA
three years ago, he immediately identi-
fied three central issues to improve on:
1.
The Authority was backlogged with
approximately 3,100 applications to
be reviewed; currently, there are only
200 unreviewed applications and
the waiting period has been reduced
from 1.5 years to approximately four
or five months.
2.
The Authority had a major problem be-
ing able to enforce their rules and laws;
Mr. Rosen said he wanted the SLA to
“get out of the minutia of the day-to-
day operations of licensees,” allowing
the SLA to focus on larger matters.
3.
There was a public perception of cor-
ruption and favoritism within the
Authority, as well as of misuse of state
vehicles; under Chairman Rosen,
there have been zero reports of cor-
ruption and the public perception has
greatly improved.
Here is a summary of some of the
other relevant topics discussed:
Mr. Rosen established a lock box with
a national bank; all payments (checks
for permit applications, for example)
are collected and documented by the
bank, freeing up the Authority to fo-
cus on more important matters.
Mr. Rosen has separated examiners
from attorneys. This entire process
has been moved up to Albany, and
attorneys can only see examiners by
appointment only.
Almost all other processes have been
centralized in Albany. Before, three
people were responsible for handling
30,000 renewal applications. Today,
thanks to cross-training of many em-
ployees, permits, renewals and new
applications are processed much more
efficiently and backlog is minimal.
Administrative authority now sits
with the Chairman. Previously, every
single decision had to be made by an
entire board, which was very time-
consuming and would often result in
a stalemate at the Board level. Today,
their hands are no longer tied.
Mr. Rosen’s team is instituting an e-
licensing project; soon, applications
and renewals will be a 100% elec-
tronic process.
Price posting is now being handled by
Beverage Media, freeing up more re-
sources at the Authority; the process
is significantly more efficient than
ever, both for retailers and for the en-
forcement bureau.
Prior to Mr. Rosen’s arrival, the
NYSLA was a “dispirited organiza-
tion,” but he changed the corporate
culture. He views and runs the SLA
as a business, emphasizing efficiency
and accountability. Annual employ-
ee evaluations are now conducted,
something Mr. Rosen brought over
from his work at the Attorney Gen-
eral’s office.
1.
Dennis Rosen, NYSLA Chairman
2.
Jeff Saunders, Retailers Alliance President
3.
Mike McKeon, Mercury PR
4.
Mike McKeon; lobbyist Brian Meara;
and Martin Mehler, RA attorney
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