Joe Conti, the chief executive officer of the oft-maligned Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, is out the door.

This time, he will not be returning.

Conti "retired" from the $156,000 position in January, even as Gov. Corbett was preparing his most aggressive push yet to privatize the agency. Days after he announced his departure, the LCB decided to temporarily bring him back, for 95 days, at $80 an hour. (Read The Inquirer story on his departure here).

Conti was brought back under a provision in the state retirement code that permits former employees to return on an emergency basis while still collecting pensions.

The move was controversial, as it came while the LCB contends with a state Ethics Commission probe into allegations that top officials at the agency, Conti among them, accepted gifts and favors from vendors.

Conti, a onetime Republican legislator from Bucks County, could not be reached for immediate comment Monday.

LCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman said in an interview that Conti's last day is this coming Thursday.

The Inquirer reported last month that the clock is quickly running down for state ethics investigators to complete their inquiry. Ethics investigators are given up to 360 days to report findings to the full commission, which then determines whether rules were broken. Though the exact date the inquiry began could not be learned, several lawyers involved in the case said they first were told of it in mid-summer.

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