New Albany drug policy will test all employees - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New Albany drug policy will test all employees

January 4, 2006

Albany- A new City of Albany policy means drug testing for all workers, even the Mayor and City commissioners. The new drug-free workplace policy expands the city's current procedure that just tests safety-sensitive positions.

The City Human Resource department must still figure out who will perform the testing, either Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital or Doctors Lab. Despite who's doing the drug testing, some city employees tell us they're okay with the new rules.

Most Albany City employees seem open to the city's new plan to drug test all employees.

"You can call me any day 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don't mind being drug screened, I don't mind being called on if my name shows up on the random list, I'll be ready to obey and follow the ordinances of this city for drug testing," said Helen Lockette, Albany Manager of Risk Management.

"Our what we call safety-sensitive people have always been tested and people who hold CDL's and transit drivers," said Nathan Davis, Albany City Attorney.

The city is expanding that list to include all employees from city clerks to garbage collectors and even Mayor Adams and city commissioners.

"Everybody's employee number will be entered into what I'll call a software program. There won't be any alphabetizing or names and there will be a random selection of 25 percent of those people to be tested," said Davis.

So, if an employee's number is pulled, they'll have a specified amount of time to report to the testing center.

"I don't have a problem with it, so I'm comfortable with going to take the drug test and I don't feel like it's an invasion," said Stacie Mote, a Paralegal.

"Certainly with this department now, I think that everybody needs to be tested because all employees are subject to use a city vehicle and that's the biggest thing if you're out there driving a city vehicle, we need to know that you're drug free," said Stephen Collier, Albany Director of Central Services.

If an employee refuses to be tested, there are consequences.

"They would not necessarily be terminated on the spot, but they would be counseled and asked why they don't want to take it," said Davis.

Most employees say, it's simply a sign of the times and something that must be done.

"When you agree to work for this organization, then you take on the responsibilities of practicing safe habits within this government and so I don't think it's a violation of anybody's rights I just think it's not only the safe thing to do it's the right thing to do," said Lockette.

Final approval is expected later this month. Phoebe's price for testing would be $7,770 a year. Doctors Lab would do the work for $4,750.

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