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Georgia Southern dean will chair Statesboro alcohol board
Patrice Buckner Jackson chosen to lead new panel
W Jackson 3128
Patrice Buckner Jackson

When the six members of Statesboro's new Alcohol Advisory Board held their organizational meeting Monday, they chose as their chairperson Patrice Buckner Jackson, Georgia Southern University's dean of students.

Created along with the city's new Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance, the board is intended to advise City Council on how well the new regulations work and on issues related to alcoholic beverage sales and enforcement. The board has no enforcement or legislative powers, but can recommend specific changes.

"I think City Council has really worked to set a foundation in this way," Jackson said in an interview. "As a community, we've made great strides in the area of alcohol control and accountability and safety, so I count it an honor to be a part of the committee that is charged with continuing that work."

The committee will be concerned with making sure that the rules work for everybody, including business owners, students, and local community members, she said.

"We believe in Statesboro and we want it to be a vibrant community that attracts folks to come spend time with us, but we also want it to be safe and accountable to all laws and rules," Jackson said.

To meet monthly

Meetings of the advisory board will be open to the public. After some discussion of possibly holding meetings quarterly, members decided that they are needed monthly, at least for now, while the ordinance is new.

Regular meetings will be held at 4 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, so the next will be Aug. 8.

Jackson, who started the discussion toward organizing the board, was nominated on a motion from Laura Wheaton, seconded by Schubert Lane. Matt Hube was elected vice chairperson after volunteering, and will also keep the minutes with assistance from City Clerk Sue Starling.

Citizens can bring concerns to Starling's office or directly to board members, who can put them on the agenda until the close of business the Wednesday before a meeting.

In the first issue brought to the new advisory board, attorney Bob Mikell, representing some business owners, suggested changing the ordinance's definition of a catered event to allow businesses with catering licenses to provide drinks at some events that are open to the public, with advance notice to the city, instead of just at private parties with a set number of guests.

Board members asked what steps would be taken to prevent underage drinking at these events.

A section of the ordinance regulating drink prices and prohibiting some kinds of specials, which business owners discussed with City Council last month, was suggested then for the board's consideration, but wasn't addressed Monday.

Goes with new rules

In June, the five council members and the mayor each nominated one member of the board.

Besides Jackson, the board consists of two attorneys, Hube and Wheaton; a catering service owner, Lane; a restaurant owner, Woody Pumphrey; and a credit union loan officer, Jim Thibodeau.

Jackson was Georgia Southern's associate dean for student conduct for five years and has now been dean of students for four years.

In August 2014, the death of an 18-year-old GSU student at a nightclub near campus, allegedly at the hands of a 20-year-old student who worked as a bouncer, refocused the city's efforts to revise its alcohol law. Earlier in that process, Jackson spoke up during public meetings, voicing concerns about student safety. Asked this week whether she brings a special perspective to the board, she said all the members do.

"All of our community members bring a variety of perspectives to the conversation, and that's going to make the conversation rich and effective," Jackson said. "As the dean of students at Georgia Southern, I'm honored that our City Council continues to recognize the importance of Georgia Southern in this community."

Most provisions of the new ordinance took effect July 1, but rules requiring training for bartenders and managers will take effect Jan. 1. The city is already requiring bouncers to be at least 21, meet certain requirements and obtain a city-issued permit card.

Businesses licensed to serve alcoholic beverages are now paying higher fees to support the work of a Statesboro Police Department alcoholic beverage control officer, and Advanced Patrol Officer Eric Short was recently appointed to that role.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.



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