Annapolis Cabbies Could Be Required To Take Drug Tests

Drivers Groupto Oppose Bill Before City Council Tonight

May 13, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

The Annapolis City Council may decide tonight whether city taxicab drivers and owners should be required to take drug tests.

Meanwhile, the cabbies and operators have formed the Annapolis City Taxicab Association and hired attorney Jody Buccellato to represent them. They say the tests may be unconstitutional and they object to a requirement that they pay for the procedures.

Alderman Wayne C. Turner, R-Ward 6, and Transportation Director James Chase proposed testing drivers and owners for drug use last yearafter several people applying for taxicab licenses were found to have drug records. Industry officials have said the bill would set a national precedent.

The Rules Committee approved the bill last month after city officials and cab company owners recommended several changes.

But cab drivers complained that they had no say in the compromise bill and that they weren't allowed to speak at the meeting at which it was ironed out.

Turner said he didn't allow cab drivers to participate in the meeting because he said he "didn't want to go backthrough the whole process again. I'm sure they're just unhappy with it, period."

Under the compromise bill, cab drivers would be able to decide when they will take the test. They also would be able to have their private physicians administer it. The doctor would then certify that the driver was not abusing drugs.

Under earlier versions of the bill, tests would have been performed by the city, which also could require random tests.

In other action tonight, the City Council is slated to:

* Vote on a bill to give department directors more job security. The bill was proposed by Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8. Most department heads can be dismissed by the mayor without cause; under Moyer's bill, department heads could be removed only for official misconduct, conviction of a crime or poor performance.

The Rules Committee rejected Moyer's bill, 2-1, because of concern it would it too difficult to remove agency directors.

* Grant a publichearing and vote on a bill that would double the number of children registered day-care providers may supervise.

Under city law they may care for up to four children. The bill, submitted by Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, would raise the total to eight, to match county and statelaw.

* Decide whether to buy 3.6 acres off Forest Drive for housing. The county Community Action Agency and South County Residential Projects want to use the Greenbriar property to build more than 30 affordable homes.

* In closed session, the council will get an updatefrom Chief Harold Robbins on the Police Department's progress in meeting a 1984 court agreement addressing racial discrimination in the department. It is the 12th closed-door meeting in Hopkins' 17 months in office.

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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