Local News

Story published: 02-19-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Town changes drug testing policy

By Kristen Swing
Executive Editor

Jonesborough leaders changed an employee drug testing policy last week so that it includes individuals recently hired to work for the town.

Those looking to be hired by the town are required to take a pre-employment drug test. However, when it comes to employees of the town, only those with certain job descriptions are subject to random drug testing.

They include employees with a CDL drivers certificate and members of the police, fire and water treatment departments, all of whom are considered to have “safety sensitive positions.”

Town Administrator Bob Browning and Town Operations Manager Craig Ford asked the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at the Feb. 11 meeting to change the policy to require all new employees be drug tested at some point during their orientation period with the town. An employee’s orientation, or trial employment period, typically lasts six months. Drug testing of those employees will be done in conjunction with the quarterly random drug testing of employees with safety sensitive jobs.

Browning and Ford believe drug testing during orientation will create additional safety measures in departments where employees are not included in the pool to be randomly drug tested at any time.

Alderman Chuck Vest made a motion to approve the policy change, which passed unanimously.

He also encouraged the town to consider an even stricter drug testing policy in the future.

“I’d like to ask Bob and Craig to explore expanding random drug testing to all employees,” Vest said. “I think employees that handle cash and represent the town should be the same as employees that drive a vehicle.”

Vest went so far as to say members of the BMA could also be included in random drug testing.

The suggestion to further expand the random drug testing was well received by Mayor Kelly Wolfe, who said it was, at the very least, worth looking into such a policy.