DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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July 4, 2013

Man pushes Council to enact drug policy

Gill asks councilors to put policy on the books

DERRY — One resident is pushing the town to get stricter about background checks for drugs and alcohol for new employees.

Mike Gill offered a simple petition to Town Council, asking the town to put a policy in place to make sure all workers are screened prior to taking a job with the town, establishing an alcohol- and drug-free workplace for all town employees.

It’s not the first time Gill has challenged the town’s drug-testing policy — or lack thereof.

Last month, during a process to approve a new three-year union contract between the town and Teamster Local No. 633, including Public Works staff, Gill asked why there was no policy was in place for all town workers.

Some Public Works staff with commercial driving :licenses fall under Department of Transportation rules when it comes to drug and alcohol testing policies.

Gill wants to see more.

“I was befuddled that, with all the rules and regulations in the town of Derry, there isn’t a random drug-testing policy in place,” he said.

He researched other towns in the area and found many with more drug testing rules in place than Derry.

Gill said he decided to move forward with his petition to see if the Town Council would consider putting more rules on the books.

Town Administrator John Anderson said the town’s police department already has strict rules in place when it’s time to bring on new officers and recruits.

“It’s more stringent than any department under the leadership of our chief of 41 years,” he said. “To say that we don’t do that, we clearly do do that now.”

Anderson said a typical employment call for police may attract 150 or more applicants. Seventy-five might then actually show up in person for pre-screening and testing, with about 30 then passing a strict agility test, polygraph and drug screening.

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