Herbert Waiting for DABC Audit

(KCPW News) Utah Governor Gary Herbert won’t say much about his decision to fire the head of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control until an audit is complete. Last week, he demanded and received the immediate resignation of Executive Director Dennis Kellen following allegations he violated state procurement law. But are there others who could be implicated as well?

“Well, I think that’s the point of the investigation and the point of the audit. Who did know, and did somebody just turn a blind eye to what was taking place? I think that’s a question that I would like to have answered, too,” he said. “But again, I don’t want to speculate. Let’s get the audit done, let’s do the investigation, then we’ll have facts, and then we can make decisions.”

After Kellen resigned, it was reported the DABC had contracted with a company called Flexpak, which is run by his son, but the contracts were allegedly structured in a way that avoided the state’s competitive bid process.

When asked whether the state government should be involved in the liquor business at all, Herbert said he expects the legislature to debate that issue during the next session.

“Should we privatize? I think that’s a worthwhile discussion and we’ll see where that discussion goes. I think for Utah’s history, as far as Utah being in the alcohol business, I think they’ve done a good job of it,” says Herbert.

The governor recently appointed a new chairman of the commission that oversees the DABC, but still has one more vacancy on the board to fill. He spoke at his monthly news conference on KUED.