Parents and teachers concerned about student drinking will have a voice on Carroll County's liquor board with the appointment of John P. Buchheister Jr., county commissioners said this week.
"He's involved with students as a football coach," said County Commissioner Donald I. Dell of Mr. Buchheister, a Hampstead resident who is head football coach for the Randallstown Rams. "The kids' health is prominent in his mind. I think he will be a good, concerned member of the board."
Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said, "He's a nondrinker, and as a high school coach he does study with the kids the effects of alcohol in his health classes."
Mr. Buchheister, a physical education and health teacher at Randallstown, will join Russell Mayer and recently appointed member Romeo Valianti on the board next month. The commissioners chose Mr. Buchheister to replace former liquor board chairman Earle H. Brewer, who resigned in September to spend more time in his barber shop and hair replacement business.
Mr. Mayer, the only incumbent, will serve as board chairman, the commissioners said yesterday.
Mr. Valianti was appointed last week to replace William A. Sapp.
The board chairman is paid $2,500 a year. Other members are paid $1,800 a year.
"I'm kind of excited and apprehensive at the same time, because I don't know what's going on," Mr. Buchheister said, noting that he's not entirely sure what his duties will be.
"My understanding is that they have jurisdiction over and carry out the legislation that dictates how liquor licenses are given out, investigate violations and so forth," he said.
Mr. Buchheister, who said he had expressed interest in serving on the board, said the three members are to meet soon with the county attorney to discuss their responsibilities.
"This is a critical thing that needs to be monitored in our county," he said. "Being a nondrinker myself, I feel it's a concern, a major concern to society. We need to be observant of the rules that are set forth."
However, Mr. Buchheister said he didn't intend to be unduly harsh or unfair to applicants or violators.
"I just feel that we need to police it and monitor it," he said.
The county commissioners said they chose Mr. Buchheister because of his expressed interest, his dedication to his students and his enthusiasm for completing a project.
"Just like on the athletic field, he has almost an obsession with what he does," Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said. "He's concerned about the things at hand. He's a quick learner and has an analytical mind."
Mr. Dell said he hadn't known Mr. Buchheister for very long. But, he added, "Since I've known him, he's been very energetic. He's very outspoken."
Mr. Buchheister said he doesn't foresee a conflict between fulfilling his duties at the daytime liquor board meetings and his teaching responsibilities at Randallstown High.
"I have personal days that I can use to meet with the board," he said. "I don't think that will be a major problem."
However, he said he would consider proposing evening or night meetings of the board.
"To be perfectly honest, I don't know that we have to meet [in the mornings]," he said. "I guess that's when they traditionally meet, but all the committees and boards meet during the day and people complain about [lack of access]."
And football comes first, said Mr. Buchheister. "I'll miss anything but football practice. If somebody's got a liquor problem, it'll have to wait until after practice.
Randallstown's football season ends in two weeks, so there won't be a conflict for much longer, Mr. Buchheister said. He has been nominated to coach the junior varsity wrestling team but plans to decline because of the liquor board appointment.
"It's not a priority," he said of coaching the wrestling team.
Commissioner Gouge, who nominated Mr. Buchheister for the post, said his political background should help him in this position.
"He's been part of the political scene for years and understands the political process," she said.
A Republican active in county politics, Mr. Buchheister is currently the Hampstead director for the Tri-District Republican Club. The club covers the Hampstead, Manchester and Finksburg voting areas.
Mr. Buchheister also is federal account representative for Carroll's Republican Central Committee. He lost a state Senate bid in the 1990 primary election, garnering 409 votes compared with 3,911 for the victor, Larry E. Haines, and 2,528 for the incumbent, Sharon W. Hornberger.