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Council considers updating DUI law for elected officials
by Bill Baldowski
August 20, 2014 11:38 AM | 956 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha Shal. Councilman Samuel Davis, who sponsored the amendment, and Chief Assistant City Attorney Susan Littlefield stand by a city vehicle in front of city hall.
Staff / Samantha Shal. Councilman Samuel Davis, who sponsored the amendment, and Chief Assistant City Attorney Susan Littlefield stand by a city vehicle in front of city hall.
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Douglasville City Council approved an ethics ordinance amendment Monday that seeks to hold elected city officials to the same municipal standard for operating a city-owned vehicle while intoxicated as any city employee.

In addition, the ordinance would require elected officials to submit to drug and alcohol testing if they were operating a city vehicle that was involved in an accident.

A similar ordinance relating to city employees has been in effect for a number of years, said Douglasville City Manager Bill Osborne.

However, that stipulation was not included in the city’s ethics ordinance for elected city officials.

Mayor Harvey Persons said he was the one who asked for the city vehicle amendment to be included on Monday’s agenda, despite Councilman Samuel Davis bringing it before the council as chairman of the ordinances and intergovernmental committee.

The mayor said he had heard discussions, even before he took office, that such a requirement for elected leaders should be considered.

“Recently, we had members of the police department ask about this ordinance with regard to elected officials being held to the same standard as city employees,” Persons said.

“I support that and believe it is justified for elected officials to be held to that same standard with regard to the operation of city vehicles and any accident that might occur.”

Douglasville Mayor Pro Tem Larry Yockey said he saw nothing to prevent him from supporting the amendment.

However, he said he believes any alcohol or drug testing of a city official involved in an accident while driving a city vehicle should be done by state officials.

“This is just another example that elected officials need to be aware that the city does not tolerate such behavior and, as elected officials, they are held to the same standard as an employee of our city,” he said.

Councilman Mike Miller said he wondered why the issue was being raised due to it already being state law.

“This is not to say I am opposed to it,” Miller said. “I believe it is pertinent to have elected officials be held to the same standard, and abide by the same rules and regulations that our city employees do.”

Osborne said it is important to understand that Douglasville city employee policies and procedures, which include this ordinance, are separate from the ethics ordinance that regulates elected officials’ actions.

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