PTC looks to plug hole in employee drug screenings


Peachtree City does not have a city-wide program for pre-employment and random drug testing, but that may change soon.

The fire department and police department do pre-employment drug testing with funding from their budgets, and the fire department also does random testing. The police department used a random drug test procedure last year but is revamping the process due to concerns that it wasn’t random, according to Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark.

The police department will also issue drug tests on employees for suspicion or cause, Clark said.

And while it gave city leaders some comfort to know that public safety is covered with employee drug tests, money for a city-wide drug testing program was eliminated from the city budget in 2009 and 2010, the City Council was told Friday morning.

Officials estimated that such a cohesive employee drug testing program would cost around $12,500 a year.

City Manager Jim Pennington said that money would be well-spent to help protect the city from future lawsuits.

“You are going to save some money in the long term because accidents, as an attorney would know, can cost you a lot,” Pennington said. “… What it costs you up front is a heck of a lot less than what it can cost you in the final analysis.”

Human Resources Administrator Ellece Brown highlighted a significant concern if the city continues to lack a pre-employment drug screening for all hires.

“Is the city hiring people that are left over from other employers because they can’t pass a drug screen?” Brown asked rhetorically as she introduced the topic.

The response in the room was so quiet you could’ve heard a pin drop on the carpeted floor.

Fire Chief Ed Eiswerth said the fire department also conducts drug tests on employees who are involved in accidents on the job. And the departments volunteers are also subject to drug screens, he added.

Pennington said he wants to have the city adopt a standard drug screening program instead of having individual programs run by departments.

There was no opposition on council to spending money in the coming year’s budget to implement both pre-employment and random drug screening.