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The Local Agenda: Gainesville updates drug-free policy

POSTED: January 6, 2014 11:46 p.m.

A newly adopted drug-free workplace policy by the city of Gainesville more clearly defines safety roles within the city, as well as expanding on the process of random drug testing.

The former policy has been in place since 2003, and requires testing of transit employees, and of those in any other roles requiring a commercial driver’s license as mandated by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The new policy continues to cover those testing groups, while also adding a third group for the random drug tests.

“We are now going to be adding a third group to random drug testing, which we are calling city safety sensitive,” Human Resources Officer Vikki Fox said at the Jan. 2 work session of the City Council. These roles include police officers, firefighters, water treatment plant operators, equipment operators and lifeguards, as well as any other employee who drives a city vehicle regularly.

Any employee who tests positive during a random drug test is automatically terminated. Fox said there will be a 60-day notice prior to any testing.

“It sends a very strong message and a signal that we don’t tolerate drug abuse of any type in the city,” Councilman George Wangemann said. “It does affect the quality of workmanship by the employees.”

Supervisor and employee training under the new policy is ongoing through February, with implementation beginning March 1. The random drug tests should begin near the end of April, Fox said.

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