Evanston city staff told aldermen on the Human Services Committee Tuesday night that they’re considering revisions to the city’s employee drug testing policy to require tests after any accident or injury.
Human Relations Division Manager Jennifer Lin told the aldermen that city workers were involved in nearly 100 accidents last year and nearly 50 so far this year.
Testing now after accidents is base on “reasonable suspicion” by supervisors of drug or alcohol use, which Lin said results in inconsistent application of the policy.
She said many municipalities now require mandatory testing in such situations. That includes such nearby towns, she added, as Skokie, Highland Park, Niles and Mount Prospect.
Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said the change would be excellent — that there ought to be testing after any incident.
The report to aldermen on the drug testing policy followed complaints during public comment at a recent City Council meeting that two Public Works employees had been subjected to drug testing after they voiced complaints about city policies at a ward meeting.
Lin said the city’s drug policy now permits testing based on third-party reports of misbehavior and based on observations of erratic performance or suspicious behavior by supervisors.
She said the Human Resources Division would be conducting training sessions will employees and supervisors this fall to ensure full understanding of the policy and to make sure supervisors know how to recognize symptoms of drug abuse.
Deputy City Manager Erika Storlie said city officials had been working closely with union representatives and employees to develop revisions to the standards.
Aldeman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said the training would be important to reduce subjectivity in deciding whether employees would be tested.
Perhaps finding a way to monitor their use of cell phones and texting while driving might be a better idea.
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