Caraway Council approves drug and alcohol testing resolution

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Mayor Barry Riley makes a call to a sales representative for information on spray equipment to control mosquitoes. Council members were able to ask questions and request a demonstration of the sprayer that would fit the needs of the community.

Caraway Mayor Barry Riley read Resolution 2016-2, a city drug free policy to be added to the employee handbook, during the city council meeting Thursday. The council had discussed making Caraway a drug free city at the April meeting.

Following a discussion on types of testing, cost, employees' right to appeal, how often the random tests would be conducted, etc., Councilman Bo James asked if synthetic drugs would be covered or if it needed to be added to the resolution.

Mayor Riley said he would check.

The new drug free policy will include random testing for the fire department, police department and city employees. A mandatory test would be required following an injury. All new employees would be required to take a drug test.

The random testing would be done approximately every four months.

A citizen attending the meeting asked if the employees would have any recourse in case of a false positive. He said he wanted to make sure employees get a fair chance.

"Yes," Mayor Riley said. "An employee can request and pay for a second test. We are not trying to entrap our employees. I have no doubt all of our employees will come back fine."

He went on to say if a test is proven to be a false positive then the employee would be reinstated.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the drug free policy and add it to the employee handbook.

Mayor Riley will meet with all of the employees and members of the police department and fire department about the policy and get signatures.

"From there, if anyone is injured he or she will get tested, there will be random testing and new hires will be tested," Mayor Riley said.

The council then voted unanimously to start the process on condemnation of unsafe buildings on main street. Council may look at removing the office building in the front from the list of unsafe properties. Mayor Riley said it may be sound. The back of the building has part of the roof down and the sheet metal shop needs to be removed.

The owners will be notified and have 30 days to remove it or the city will pay to have it taken down and put a lien on the property.

The council held a discussion on mosquito spray for the city. They discussed the cost of purchasing a spray machine, cost of chemicals, etc. It was estimated it would cost $2,400 a month to spray three nights a week.

Mayor Riley said if $1.60 per water meter was added, it would help pay for the service.

A telephone discussion with a sales representative about the machine was held. Council members asked if they could get a demonstration set up in the near future. Councilman James said he would like to have a town meeting to get input from the citizens of Caraway.

The council discussed a need for gates at the city pond and the enforcement of a curfew. They discussed enforcing the limit rules and closing the pond at night. Mayor Riley said he would ask the police to patrol the area.

In other business:

*Mayor Riley requested adding Glenn Boone to the Park Commission. The Council agreed unanimously.

*Councilman Roger Williams updated the council on the community garden. He said elementary students in the sixth grade want to help and learn about gardening. They plan to plant corn, okra, onions, squash and more. "This is a good way to get the kids involved," he said.

*Mayor Riley informed the council there would be a ribbon cutting and open house at the new Riverside East Elementary at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

*The youth fishing rodeo went well. "It put a smile on a lot of kids faces," Mayor Riley said.

*The council also discussed repairs of the bathrooms at the park. Terry Couch, city superintendent, said, "We have fixed the bathrooms several times and they are destroyed. It is a shame a few ruin it for all of the others." The council discussed fixing the bathrooms and then installing a video camera system at the park/bathroom areas.

*Couch informed the council the hole on New York Street had returned. It will need to be cut and repaired but they have to wait until the water goes down. "It looks dry but it is not."

*Councilman Roger Williams asked if a schedule of upcoming events could be added to the water bills so citizens would be informed.

*A citizen asked if in the future there is a boil order if it could run across the electronic marquee at the park. Mayor Riley said they tried to get the word out. He agreed putting it on the city sign would be a good idea.

*The next regular council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 9.

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