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Flint, MI—The Flint City Council may be subjected to randomized drug testing while on city property, if a new ordinance is approved.
On Sept. 13, a new ordinance was brought to the council which would “add a prohibition on the illegal use of controlled substances by elected officials, while on city property or while engaged in city business, to the Flint City Code of Ordinances.”
The ordinance specifies that elected officials who are involved in an accident resulting in injuries to others on city property will be subject to “any drug testing policies applicable to city of Flint employees.”
It also states that elected officials are subject to “any randomized drug testing policies applicable to City of Flint employees.”
City Attorney Angela Wheeler said that Councilman Allan Griggs requested this ordinance, and that the testing would be implemented through the Human Resources department.
Councilwoman Monica Galloway asked Griggs what prompted him to request this ordinance, and if he knew of another municipality that had this.
Griggs said, “it was only hearsay of a city councilman from Los Angeles.”
“I saw no reason to verify,” Griggs said. “Just is a good policy.”
Councilwoman Eva Worthing noted that the Burbank city council in California voted to submit themselves to random drug testing after a former councilwoman was convicted of drug possession. According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, this was done in 2006.
Some council members expressed their support for the ordinance, saying that elected officials should be subjected to the same drug testing policies as city employees.
“I feel that any laws and rules that we’re making for employees, and how they conduct business for the city, it should also apply to the elected officials … all it’s trying to do is prevent people who are impaired in some way by some substance, from making really important decisions,” said Council President Kate Fields.
But some council members wondered if the ordinance was targeted, and questioned the motives behind its creation.
Galloway said she did not have a problem with anyone being prohibited from using illegal drugs, but thought this might be “overreach.”
“I’m questioning the fact that they’re saying the elected officials are subject to random testing … I think that this is a targeted ordinance,” Galloway said.
Councilman Eric Mays, along with Galloway, said he’d like to see this ordinance go back to committee meetings to be further discussed.
“I have been tested for illegal substances all through my trials, and General Motors, and I’ll do it here with you voluntarily, and I can guarantee you there will be no illegal substances found in me,” Mays said. “So it ain’t a big deal about that, it’s just the motives and the things that people do.”
The council voted to postpone this ordinance to the next legislative committee meeting in October.