The State Liquor Authority tells us it has instituted a new Self-Certification Program that allows attorneys to verify that their clients’ liquor-license applications are truthful and their papers in order. Previously, this task was performed by employees at the Authority, and we’re told it could take as much as five hours to review each application in order to determine whether (to take just one example) a potential restaurant’s lease was valid. The new honor system should ease the backlog for liquor licenses that has caused new restaurants to have to wait for months before they can serve booze (case in point: Four months after opening, Joaquin Baca’s Brooklyn Star is still dry). So just how bad is this backlog? Today, a new report from the State Law Revision Commission brings details.
According to the Post, which got a look at the report, the SLA currently has more than 3,000 applications pending, 2,008 of which are in the New York City area. “This backlog epitomizes the many failures and structural defects plaguing the agency,” reads the report. “Well-accepted principles of agency administration have fallen by the wayside … and inadequate enforcement jeopardizes public health and safety.” New SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen says he’s already at work trying to correct issues of understaffing and mismanagement, and he’s willing to consider a recommended measure that would permit restaurants to legally allow diners to BYOB while they wait for their licenses. Here’s to that.