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 Town May Drug Test Employees

February 25, 2009 - Just minutes after the Knightstown Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a new town personnel policy manual, one council member suggested amending it to allow random drug testing of employees.

As soon as Ordinance 1-2009 passed at the council's Feb. 19 regular monthly meeting, Council Vice President Terry Guerin said he wanted the town's attorney to draft an amendment that would allow employees to be drug tested. This prompted council member Clyde South to ask Guerin, "What's the issue?"

Saying he believes there's a drug problem in town, Guerin added, "I think it would behoove us to practice what we're preaching." South asked if there was any indication of a drug problem with town employees. Guerin said he'd been told there might be.

Without knowing more about the cost of such a program and the specific procedures that would be followed, South said he was against a random drug testing policy. Guerin clarified that he just wanted legal counsel Gregg Morelock to draft a proposal and that there would be an opportunity to discuss the details before voting to adopt a drug testing policy.

Morelock told the council he would get some sample drug testing policies currently used by some other towns. "That would help," South said.

In another personnel matter, Knightstown Chief of Police Danny Baker told the council that officer Dan Denny had resigned to take a job with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, with his last day being Feb. 22. Before the council voted to accept the resignation, council member Steve Nelson asked about the effect of doing so "since we have some legal actions."

Morelock said he had spoken with Denny's attorney and should be able to finalize "and resolve that without too much difficulty," and that accepting the resignation would not affect that matter. No details were provided as to the nature of the legal issues between Denny and the town, or how they are being resolved.

The council voted to promote reserve officer Joe Radcliff to the full-time position vacated by Denny. Radcliff was to begin his new duties Feb. 23.

Council President Valerie Trump announced the following committee assignments for 2009: office (Trump, South); town court (Guerin, Bob Weber); utilities (South, Nelson); police (Guerin, Weber); cemetery board (Nelson); park board (Weber); fire board (Nelson, Weber); ambulance board (Nelson); Chamber of Commerce liaisons (Trump, Guerin); and plan commission (South, Nelson).

Trump said the members of the Knightstown Plan Commission will remain the same for 2009: South, Nelson, Erma Keller, Kenneth Stearns, Sr., Barry Carter, Steve Wilkerson and Marion Adkins. She said issues involving membership on the park board and Board of Zoning Appeals are still being finalized.

Saying she knew someone interested in filling a vacancy on the park board, Trump asked if board members have to live in town. Morelock said "it would be a little questionable" to have someone from outside the town serving on the board since the park falls under the town's jurisdiction.

Trump said she thought that, in the past, there had been a park board member who didn't reside within town limits.

"And that may be," Morelock said, "but that's not in compliance with the statute at that point." To expand the park's district and jurisdiction beyond the town's limits, he said, would probably require the township taking some responsibility for levying taxes for the park.

Trump also said at last week's meeting that she wanted to remind the town's various boards to have their secretaries turn meeting minutes into Knightstown Clerk-Treasurer Judy Haines to be kept on file at Knightstown Town Hall. Her reminder was prompted by the Knightstown Plan Commission's recent failure to provide The Banner with copies of minutes from two meetings held last July and October because the KPC's secretary is in Florida until sometime in April.

(More news from the Knightstown Town Council's Feb. 19 meeting will appear in next week's Banner.)


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