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County employees could face more drug tests

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Tougher restrictions could save money

By Drew Nichter

County employees could soon be required to attend yearly substance abuse training and be subject to more frequent alcohol and drug tests.

Members of Oldham County Fiscal Court are considering a change to the county’s drug- and alcohol-free workplace policy.

The policy would be amended to include yearly mandatory alcohol and substance abuse education and awareness training for all county employees.

Initial training will last at least an hour with 30-minute review sessions each year thereafter.

Supervisors will receive 30 minutes of additional training focused on recognizing the signs of alcohol and substance abuse in the workplace and how to refer employees to assistance or treatment programs.

Adopting the training requirements qualifies the county as a certified drug-free workplace, earning a 5 percent discount on its worker’s compensation premiums, a savings of about $7,500-$8,000.

The ordinance also includes more stringent tests for employees who test positive for alcohol or illegal substances, are suspended and then reinstated.

If the policy is amended, those employees are subject to follow-up drug and alcohol tests at any time for at least one year, with a minimum of one test per quarter.

Under the current drug testing policy, all employees are subject to random drug and alcohol tests each year. At least 50 percent must be tested for drugs; 10 percent for alcohol.

Some employees may be tested more than once in a year.

Any county employee involved in an accident or who receives a citation is immediately tested for drugs and alcohol.

If an employee tests positive for either drugs or alcohol, he or she must pass another test before being allowed back to work. That employee is also subject to testing at any time during the next five years.

Magistrate Michael Logsdon, chair of the human resources committee, said nearly all departments would be subject to the policy change, including: OC Animal Control, building and inspections, central dispatch, coroner’s office, engineer’s office, county police, emergency management, human resources, judge-executive’s office, maintenance, parks and recreation, planning and development services, solid waste/recycling, and road department.

Employees of the Oldham County Jail, sheriff’s office, clerk and county attorney have separate administrative policies and would not be subject to the proposed ordinance.

Elected officials, including magistrates, are not subject to the administrative policy, Logsdon said.

The ordinance received a first reading April 16. It will be voted on May 7.

Email us about this story at: drew@oldhamera.com.