Barlow: ‘Drug test us, too’
County to consider deal moving Main Street program to courthouse
New Fayette County Commissioner David Barlow wants he and his fellow commissioners to be subject to the same random drug testing program that is used on county employees.
Barlow will make his pitch Thursday night at the commission’s regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the county government complex in downtown Fayetteville.
The county’s substance abuse policy requires testing for alcohol and controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, PCP and prescription medication in excess of normal amounts.
Under the county policy, employees will be suspended at least temporarily on the spot if a failed drug test is confirmed or upon failing an alcohol test. The employees can face dismissal even on that first offense, but a second offense also would result in automatic termination.
The county also requires any employee suspended under the policy to submit to a “return to duty test” no sooner than five days after and no later than 10 days from the date of the notification of the positive alcohol or drug test.
It is not clear how the policy might be adapted to create appropriate sanctions for commissioners who are elected to office and not eligible to be suspended or fired by the county manager.
When former Fayette County Commissioner Robert Horgan was arrested in May 2009 for allegedly smoking marijuana while driving, a number of residents questioned why commissioners were not subject to random drug tests the same as county employees.
In other business, the commission is slated to consider a proposal to allow Fayetteville’s Main Street program to occupy the first floor of the historic downtown courthouse that was recently vacated by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.
The city program will pay $6,000 a year in rent to the county and also will be required to operate a visitor’s welcome center “along with historical information, photos and/or gallery displays of the historical nature of the Fayette County Courthouse.”
Main Street would be subleasing the space from the Fayette County Development Authority, which some see as a good fit since Main Street’s program includes the city’s Downtown Development Authority as well, allowing the two groups an opportunity to interact with each other on a regular basis.