Cpl. Travis Thickstun, public information officer for the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, emailed this statement:
As for new procedures at the ATC, we have implemented several changes. We have assigned – on a temporary basis – additional clerical staff to process what had become a backlog of violation reports for the administrative law prosecutor to process. More significantly, an unnecessary step has been removed from the hearing process: a pre-hearing conference face-to-face with the prosecutor. Now, the ATC prosecutor reviews a case and sends an offer of settlement to the permit holder (generally a fine, suspension or revocation). If the permit holder agrees, he or she can resolve the case with the proposed penalty. If not, a mandatory hearing before the ATC is already scheduled and included in the settlement offer letter. This change increases transparency and reduces delays caused by scheduling pre-hearing conferences with the prosecutor. Additionally, the ATC prosecutor’s time has been restructured to allow for faster processing of violations. With these changes, violations are processed months faster than they previously had been.
Some additional – but less significant changes – are also beginning to impact agency operations. One of four ATC commissioners has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the commission, and the vacant Executive Secretary’s position has also been filed. Both of those individuals began their new jobs on Nov. 4. On top of those changes, a new records-management system has recently begun to come online to more-efficiently manage not only violations, but also the issuance of new permits, transfer of existing permits, and renewal of existing permits. Now, the votes and action taken by local alcoholic beverage boards that meet in all 92 counties are logged live by an excise officer who sits on the board (literally as the votes occur). (Previously these were hand written on a form and mailed to the ATC from a district excise office or hand delivered to the ATC.) Now, the new process saves postage, fuel, officers’ time driving is a postage meter at a district office, and it’s immediate, rather than as long as one or two weeks after the votes were cast.
As you can see, the ATC has made substantial changes in the last several months to be more effective and efficient.