Chicago City Workers tipped off to drug testing
I have to give credit where credit is due, nice job Chicago Office of the Inspector General. Chicago Teamsters got a big second chance when the Hired Truck Scandal hit. Many part time employees, (seasonal) at the Chicago O'Hare Airport are now full time employees. Many of the MTD drivers knew of the upcoming drug test thanks to their boss. If you think HDO is still not a force with the drivers you are sadly mistaken. Much of Chicago Licensing agencies are still very corrupt, people are allowed to take tests that are not legally qualified. Mayor Daley's Chicago Building Department needs an overhaul as corruption continues. Someone tell those guys to stop taking bribes and insist the work completed for taxpayers is done correctly. Make sure you read Fran Spielman's article below. Patrick McDonough
City's drug testing chief fired for errors 'VERY SERIOUS REPORT' | Left 800 truck drivers off list of employees who receive random checks May 11, 2008 BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org The longtime chief of the City of Chicago's drug testing program is being fired for inadvertently excluding more than 800 truck drivers from the pool of city employees who must undergo random tests for alcohol and drugs. Russell Baggett, a $68,328-a-year project coordinator in the city's newly created Office of Compliance, is also accused of violating federal regulations by allowing employees who failed to show up for work on the day of their random tests to skip them. More than 800 truck drivers with commercial driver's licenses were left out of the testing pool because of Baggett's alleged oversights, sources said. They said there was no evidence Baggett played favorites or got anything in return. But his decision to alert supervisors -- or liaisons from participating departments -- one day before random testing had the potential to get back to the designated employees. Such warning might have allowed city workers leery of testing to take the day off. 'Appropriate action' vowed Anthony Boswell, the Denver attorney hired to run the Office of Compliance, said he considers the inspector general's report so serious that he immediately removed Baggett from control of the drug testing program and has started termination proceedings against him. He said he has also ordered a sweeping outside audit. Asked whether public safety was placed in jeopardy because of Baggett's alleged oversights, Boswell said, "It's pretty clear there was that potential. Absolutely. It was a very serious report. It puts people on the road at risk, and we're taking it very seriously. "We will take appropriate action. ... We've already spoken with a number of experts to look into our program and what we need to do to make sure the protocol complies with all applicable law." Baggett could not be reached for comment. He is a 14-year city employee who worked in the Human Resources Department before shifting to the Office of Compliance when Mayor Daley created that office to oversee city hiring and other regulatory issues. The move was widely viewed as an end-run around the inspector general. 'Sensitive area' Inspector General David Hoffman launched the investigation of the city's drug testing program in response to a tip long before the Office of Compliance was created. Transportation expert Joseph Schweiterman, director of DePaul University's Chaddick Institute, said he considers the alleged infractions in the city's drug- and alcohol-testing program "more than a routine oversight." "Given the licenses-for-bribes scandal, this is a sensitive area," Schweiterman said. "Policies need to be beyond reproach. Federal funding is at stake when programs run afoul. "The federal government requires random drug testing because transportation safety is so easily compromised. Employees have to be tested to protect other motorists from poor decision-making and impaired driving." At the least, the city could face fines for violating testing mandates. Federal transportation grants come with strings attached. Drug testing regulations must be followed to the letter. The city tests for alcohol and drugs four times a year, after choosing randomly from a pool that's supposed to include all eligible employees.