Barnes becomes Champaign deputy liquor commissioner

By Eric Chima

Stephen Barnes took over as Champaign’s deputy liquor commissioner Tuesday, replacing Assistant City Manager Paul Berg, who said he left the role to oversee other projects within the city.

Barnes, who as assistant to the city manager worked directly under Berg, said he would use his role to support the city’s liquor advisory commission and help them with decision-making processes. The position of deputy liquor commissioner also involves working with police on liquor code enforcement and planning for special events that are likely to involve liquor, Berg said.

Barnes was hired as assistant to the city manager in June after working as a management assistant in Phoenix, Ariz., since 2001. Berg said the city did not originally plan to make Barnes the deputy liquor commissioner so soon, but moved up the timetable when he adapted to his job more quickly than expected.

“We had originally planned to transition Stephen into these responsibilities the first part of next year, but we just felt comfortable with his level of maturity and how quickly he’s adapted to our organization,” Berg said.

Berg has served as deputy liquor commissioner for the last five years, but said he wanted to be free to get involved with other aspects of the city.

Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Gerald Schweighart said in a press release that Barnes’ appointment would continue the city’s efforts to fairly enforce the liquor code.

“Stephen will work closely with the mayor’s office, police and legal staff to ensure licensee compliance, while providing a safe, secure environment for the public to enjoy Champaign’s restaurant and entertainment venues,” Schweighart said.

Berg called Barnes’ current and past appointments a stepping-stone to a bigger role somewhere. Barnes said he hopes to work as a city manager someday.

For now, though, Barnes’ impact on Champaign’s liquor laws will be determined by his relationship with the city’s liquor advisory commission. The deputy liquor commissioner advises the commission, who make recommendations to the Champaign City Council, who actually set the laws, Barnes said.

“All decisions are made by the liquor advisory commission, so I really can’t answer (how I’ll be able to influence them),” Barnes said. “I don’t have the authority to make any decisions myself.”By Eric Chima

Staff writer

Stephen Barnes took over as Champaign’s deputy liquor commissioner Tuesday, replacing Assistant City Manager Paul Berg, who said he left the role to oversee other projects within the city.

Barnes, who as assistant to the city manager worked directly under Berg, said he would use his role to support the city’s liquor advisory commission and help them with decision-making processes. The position of deputy liquor commissioner also involves working with police on liquor code enforcement and planning for special events that are likely to involve liquor, Berg said.

Barnes was hired as assistant to the city manager in June after working as a management assistant in Phoenix, Ariz., since 2001. Berg said the city did not originally plan to make Barnes the deputy liquor commissioner so soon, but moved up the timetable when he adapted to his job more quickly than expected.

“We had originally planned to transition Stephen into these responsibilities the first part of next year, but we just felt comfortable with his level of maturity and how quickly he’s adapted to our organization,” Berg said.

Berg has served as deputy liquor commissioner for the last five years, but said he wanted to be free to get involved with other aspects of the city.

Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Gerald Schweighart said in a press release that Barnes’ appointment would continue the city’s efforts to fairly enforce the liquor code.

“Stephen will work closely with the mayor’s office, police and legal staff to ensure licensee compliance, while providing a safe, secure environment for the public to enjoy Champaign’s restaurant and entertainment venues,” Schweighart said.

Berg called Barnes’ current and past appointments a stepping-stone to a bigger role somewhere. Barnes said he hopes to work as a city manager someday.

For now, though, Barnes’ impact on Champaign’s liquor laws will be determined by his relationship with the city’s liquor advisory commission. The deputy liquor commissioner advises the commission, who make recommendations to the Champaign City Council, who actually set the laws, Barnes said.

“All decisions are made by the liquor advisory commission, so I really can’t answer (how I’ll be able to influence them),” Barnes said. “I don’t have the authority to make any decisions myself.”