PLCB’s Sultan of Syrah Surrenders Silently

For those in the public relations business, a state-issued news release dropped on a weekend buttressed by a holiday is the media equivalent of the midnight pay raise.  But that’s just par for the cabernet course as Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s thrice-investigated and embattled booze boss, Joe Conti, used this very tactic Saturday to announce his resignation.

ContiEffective Feb. 2, Pennsylvanians will no longer be subjects of the King of Cabernet, who according to a news release will “retire” from his $156,700-a-year job (plus benefits) “to pursue future opportunities in higher education and the private sector.”

Anyone else picturing diploma kiosks?

But details of his departure, like many PLCB executive decisions, remain cloaked in secrecy as an agency spokeswoman declined to answer any questions.

What we know is this: Outside the union, Mr. Conti has been the single biggest influence in keeping the arcane, anti-convenience, anti-consumer agency in the booze business and his early departure can only be seen as yet another positive sign the light of liquor liberty is lucidly lit.

But as we await the details of Gov. Tom Corbett’s privatization plan, the Prince of Pinot is no mo.’ And while we wish him well in his new endeavors, it’s certainly reason for cheers as soon may come a day we can’t say stay thirsty my comrades.