Vote Likely On Drug Testing Of City Drivers, Mechanics

February 11, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

The Annapolis City Council may vote tonight on a sweeping plan to test city employees for drug use.

The plan, proposed by Mayor AlfredA. Hopkins, would require public transportation drivers, mechanics and supervisors to take annual and random drug tests.

People applying for city jobs also would be required to take drugtests, and any city employee suspected of drug use could be tested. Hopkins also hopes aldermen volunteer for the tests. The city would pay for the tests, unless an employee wanted a private lab to perform the test.

Police officers and firefighters already are required totake drug tests.

Any employee testing positive for drug use would be sent to counseling or a rehabilitation program, the cost of which would be partly covered by city health benefits. Employees testing positive a second time would be fired. Employees also could be fired if their performance was affected more than once by drug or alcohol abuse.

Under the plan, the city would provide substance abuse education to employees and start an employee assistance program of free counseling and other services.

Hopkins first proposed the drug-testing plan last summer, after city negotiators bargained away the right to test firefighters for drug use. Aldermen objected to dropping the drug tests from the contract, and the tests were reinstated.

Hopkins said he proposed testing more people because he thought it was discriminatory to test only public safety employees.

In other action tonight, Hopkins will introduce legislation that would require minors to be home by midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays.

The City Council's rules committee will hold a public hearing on the bill before the council votes on it.

The curfew was proposed last month by tavern owners seeking to curb rowdiness that has plagued the downtown. Hopkins said he was opposed to curfews in principle, but agreed to sponsor the legislation to fight downtown rowdiness and violence in drug-infested neighborhoods.

The bill would require minors to leave public places and establishments between midnight and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on other nights. Minors found out after curfew would have a letter sent to their parents or guardians by police.

Parents who let their children break curfew or hang out during school hours more than once in a 12-month period could be fined $5 to $100. They could be imprisoned for 10 days if they failed to pay the fine.

Business owners who let minors remain in their establishments after curfew or during school hours couldbe fined $25 to $300 and could be imprisoned for 15 days if they failed to pay the fine.

The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.

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