January 8 2018

Burlington Restaurant Get Hits With One-Day Suspension For Failing Alcohol Compliance Sting

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen gave a one-day liquor license suspension to a restaurant caught serving to an underage person during a police sting.


Burlington Police Department Chief Michael Kent told the board that the department conducted one of its twice-annual alcohol stings in November and December. On November 27 a 17-year-old female working with police entered the Cafe Escadrille and ordered a beer. She was served whereupon she left the establishment and informed the police officers she was working with what happened.


Police entered the restaurant and spoke with the bartender and an on-duty manager. Neither denied what happened and the restaurant was referred to the board for a hearing.


During Monday night’s meeting, attorney Thomas Murphy, representing the restaurant and Robert Murray, a principal for Cafe Escadrille, Inc., were there for the hearing. Murphy said they did not contest the allegation that a minor was served. Murphy did say that in 40 years of business he believed this was the first time Cafe Escadrille failed a compliance check.


“This is clearly something they take very seriously and is something they stress with employees but a mistake was made,” he said.


Murphy also said that after the compliance check failure the employee was let go.


“That may seem harsh but that is the condition set when they take the job,” he said.


Under Burlington’s alcohol policy an establishment that has a first-time violation of alcohol sales will have its liquor license suspended for one day. The practice of the board has been to impose the suspension on the next Monday if that is a normal business day for the business. As that is the case with the Cafe Escadrille the board voted to impose the one-day suspension on Monday, January 15.


Members of the board said this policy is meant to dissuade businesses from becoming lax in its self-enforcement of alcohol policy with its employees and is not something they like having to enforce.


“These can be difficult for us sometimes when we are sitting across from someone who we know and is part of the community,” Selectman Bob Hogan said. “They are not meant to be punitive but the punitive action must be part of it for it to work. We take no pleasure in it. The goal here is to ensure that all these establishments are doing the proper training and that there are no violations as we go forward.”


Town Administrator John Petrin said that in total 40 businesses with liquor licenses were tested during the compliance check and only one had failed. This was different from three years ago when multiple businesses failed, pushing the board to adopt harsher penalties to ensure compliance.


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