Jeffersontown wants tough anti-drug policy for all city employees - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jeffersontown wants tough anti-drug policy for all city employees

The embarassing drug arrest of a Jeffersontown city supervisor has led to new policies to stop city employee substance abuse.  But city leaders find there are limits to how much employee drug testing they can legally do.

Use drugs -- you're fired.  Jeffersontown City Council members wanted a policy that tough and simple for all city employees.  But they've learned federal law prohibits the random drug testing of many employees.

The September 4th arrest of Public Works Director Joseph McMillan for crack possession continues to make waves in Jeffersontown.  David Quinlan of the Jeffersontown City Council said Thursday, "If you've got an imparied individual, sure to gosh, we've got a chain of command where we get on the phone and call somebody."

Jeffersontown City Council members are demanding a strong new system to detect employee drug and alcohol abuse and to screen new hires for drug usage.

Councilwoman Kay Ackerson said, "With this Joe McMillan, after the fact, I heard from some of the men in Public Works that they noticed his behavior but were afraid to say anything about it."  

But Gary Moberly, a drug test consultant, warned about the attitude that says, "We're going to test everybody. I don't care about the Fourth Amendment.  Everybody's going to be tested."

Moberly says many cities go into a testing program with that attitude, but federal law allows only government employees who drive commercial vehicles or work in "safety-sensitive" jobs to be randomly tested.  He added, "And only yesterday did I finally convince that mayor, 'that's a problem for you, mayor, you need to reconsider that."

Thursday's meeting with its consultant has the J-town Council scaling back its expectations.  Committee chairman David Quinlan says better screening of new hires will head off many problems.

The city will begin random testing of employees in those "safety-sensitive" jobs, and a new policy will protect employees who alert the city to possible drug abuse by fellow employees.  The policy would also reassure workers no one would retaliate against them for passing on information about someone with a problem.

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