Grayson Council began reviewing the city’s personnel handbook during last week's special session. The group held a work session on Thursday, and plans another for this week in order to complete the job.

Although the entire handbook is under review, so far Council is looking into changes in the Drug-free workplace and nepotism policies, as well as employee classification.

Mayor George Steele assured the council that drugs are not currently problematic for city employees. Councilman Duane Suttles wants to expand the current policy to include volunteers.

“It could happen one day with volunteers who have an affiliation with the city, like firefighters and maybe eventually coaches,” Suttles said. “These people represent the city, and we need policies in place that will protect us and the community.”

Suttles suggested that volunteers should be tested for drugs and alcohol if use is suspected while those individuals are in an official capacity.

As far as employee drug testing, several methods for random testing were discussed, but no changes can officially be made until the council votes during regular session.

Steele advised council that every new hire must go through a one hour learning session on the City’s drug free workplace policy. Current employees, including department heads, must go through an hour and half long learning session each year.

Council also discussed the nepotism policy, which prohibits an immediate family members of an appointed or elected official from being newly hired, promoted (if they are currently employed) or participate in the disciplinary actions.

Suttles said that the small city complicates the policy.

“We are a little town, and sometimes your best qualified people are related somehow,” Suttles said. “We want to make sure that we don't overlook qualified candidates, but we also want to make sure that the policy is followed.”

Classifications for full time employees could also be up for change. City Attorney Reid Glass is looking into changing “full time” status to less than 40 hours. The change would allow the Mayor to drop a full-time employee’s hours in the event of fiscal need for the city.

“This way, when the end of the fiscal year gets close, we don't have to lay anyone off,” Suttles said. “We can cut some hours without someone losing their job or benefits.”

The handbook has to be prepared and ready to vote on by the next regular session meeting, which is April 14. The city will hold another special meeting Wednesday, March 25, at 5 p.m.

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