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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Drug tests highlight changes to county personnel policy

Friday, June 1, 2007

Scott County Commission news

BENTON -- Scott County employees are now subject to random drug testing and drug tests in the even of an accident or workers compensation claim on County time.

Details are still in the works, but that is one of the changes made in the administrative personnel policy commissioners approved during their regular meeting Thursday.

"We try to update it every couple of years," said Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger.

Officials will look to other businesses and schools in the county to come up with an exact plan. "We just want to make people aware that's not the way to conduct themselves," Burger said.

"We want to run the county like a business," Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said. "We are a business -- a very big business."

Drug testing can be important in workman's compensation cases, because benefits can be halved if the employee is found to be under the influence at the time of the accident, saving the county money.

Commissioner Ron McCormick said they should make the testing mandatory for all such incidents. "If you do it on one, you have to do it on all," he said.

Policy changes are made to keep up with the times and with state and federal statutes. Another addition, the employment at will doctrine, follows the state precedent that employees and employers have the right to terminate employment at any time for any reason as long as it is not for discriminatory reasons.

Also at the meeting, Joe Burton, emergency management director for the county, informed commissioners of a change in the way the American Red Cross will approve shelters.

"They're going to allow church organizations to do their own, but it's still going to be under the same umbrella," he said.

The Red Cross will inspect the shelters and volunteers will undergo a two-

hour training.

Burton said he is beginning to meet with area groups to explain the new protocol. The changes came about because of problems during the winter ice storm in Springfield, when there were several open shelters, with few filled to capacity.

"It's important to get shelters designated before a disaster," Burger said.

"You don't need anybody competing with anyone else," Ziegenhorn agreed.

Burton also reported the county has already done most of the steps for the National Incident Management solutions compliance -- a protocol for the county to follow in the case of a crisis, which is due in September. "There are only a couple things we haven't done," he said.

In other news:

* Commissioners appointed Bill Palmer of Sikeston to serve on the Port Authority Board for the remainder of the year. He is filling a spot from which Scott Sanders resigned.

"That's a very important board," Ziegenhorn said. "The river is the highway to the future."

With one barge representing 120 semi trucks, commissioners anticipate a lot of traffic on the river, due to rising gas prices.

* Commissioners met with Darrin Gant and Brad Kennedy of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The representatives briefed commissioners on things they provide, what structures are approved, what people can do and about cost-share programs.

"It was good information," Burger said. "Especially for Ron, being new to the commission."