Byron council OKs drug policy

BYRON -- The Byron City Council gave final approval Monday to a nine-page alcohol and drug use policy for city employees. The document includes testing of job applicants, testing of employees based on reasonable suspicion and provides for random drug testing of employees.

The new policy, which becomes part of the city’s overall personnel policy, provides guidelines for inspection of city-owned offices, vehicles, lockers, desks and other areas provided by the city for employee use.

The policy also provides guides for consequences for violators. Councilman Michael Chumbley said a drug and alcohol policy concerning the city’s volunteer fire department was not a part of the approved document. He said a policy regarding volunteer workers was still a “work in progress.”

The council authorized Billy McDaniel, public works director, to pursue state Traffic Enhancement Grants for sidewalk projects along portions of Main Street and Boy Scout Road. The city will seek $410,000 in grants, though McDaniel said it wasn’t likely the full amount would be given. The city would be responsible for 20 percent of project costs.

Councilman Michael Chidester said in some areas where sidewalks were to be installed and improved, utilities should be placed underground and poles removed. He said the city might incur a higher cost than the 20 percent if other needed improvements were added during the process. He asked if plans for proposed projects were still flexible enough to allow for such additional improvements.

The council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would allow for the issuing of e-tickets by police in the city. Converting to e-tickets would be funded through what is being called a technology surcharge. Byron Municipal Court Chief Clerk and Probation Director Phyllis Jacks said the surcharge is essentially an increase on traffic tickets of $18 to be used by the police department and Municipal Court for computer software and hardware to operate the more paper-free, real-time system.

Jacks said plans are for 12 police cars to be outfitted with computers and linked to the e-ticket system during the next two years.