Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The City of Mission, Texas has one of the strictest drug testing policies among the Rio Grande Valley cities. They drug test every employee working in “safety-sensitive” positions at least once a year. They show zero tolerance if they uncover illicit drug use.
“The testing is to make sure you have a clean slate of employees that are working at 100%,” Julio Cerda, City Manager said, “I need to make sure we have zero tolerance of any drug whatsoever, including alcohol.”
As many as 15 city employees, all from the same department of about 150 have resigned after failing a mandatory drug screen. Mary Norberto Salinas confirmed the number, which is about 10% of the workforce.
The importance of a good drug testing program is obvious to Mission. Those whose jobs require the use of heavy or dangerous equipment or who drive on duty are a risk if impaired. Not only to themselves, but to any person around them.
Some employees have voiced concern over the testing for alcohol saying that if someone the substance might be lingering in their system but they may not be impaired. Cerda adamantly backs up the program. A person would have to be drinking all night or while at work for alcohol to show up positive in a drug test, and that compromises public safety.