Will the Fayette County Board of Commissioners be required to submit to regular drug testing? If commissioner David Barlow gets the votes his way, they will.
Fayette County’s substance abuse policy describes alcohol and controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, PCP and prescription medication in excess of normal amounts as prohibited substances. The policy also allows for pre-employment drug testing, random drug testing for employees who job duties are considered “high risk”, reasonable suspicion testing and post-accident testing for employees.
Barlow is proposing that commissioners adhere to the same strictures as the county staff.
“After my indoctrination, when I asked when and where I had to go to be drug-tested, which is what I expected after all the companies I worked for, I was told that elected officials are exempt. I didn’t think that was right. We shouldn’t be above the law.”
Barlow said after reviewing the county policy he thought it wasn’t right for commissioners to be exempt and not held to the same high standard as the employees.
“It reminded me of Congress setting laws for everyone else and then they, themselves, didn’t adhere to them. Why should we be set above the people who work for us? I polled some of the other commissioners and nobody seemed to have a problem with it.
“I’m tired of hearing ‘we inherited this’. It’s time to stop that.”
In May 2009 former Fayette County commissioner Robert Horgan was arrested for possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in his vehicle. Horgan resisted calls for his resignation, surviving a recall attempt and pled guilty to the charge. He paid an $800 fine, was sentenced to 12 months probation and also was ordered not to use any drugs or alcohol. In August of the same year, Horgan was charged with violating his probation for testing positive for alcohol, ordered to 20 days of community service and was ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. In an October session, his fellow commissioners voted unanimously to levy a $200 fine and record a resolution of public censure for violation of the county’s ethics ordinance.
The vote is expected to come at Thursday night’s county commission meeting.