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UPEA TARGETS DRUG POLICY

The Utah Public Employees Association is challenging the new blood-alcohol content level set in Ogden's revised alcohol and drug policy.

The policy states that employees are unfit for duty if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs.Under the policy, a person with a 0.04 percent or greater concentration of alcohol in the blood is deemed impaired.

"The problem is, if you have any type of drink the night before, the potential is there for you to still have it in your system when you come back to work the next morning, or if you are on standby and are called back into work," said Cathi Smith-Elliott, a northern Utah employee representative for the UPEA.

Union officials would like to see the policy revised and the level of blood-alcohol content raised to allow employees to "at least have a beer with lunch," Smith-Elliott said.

Utah law says a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more constitutes drunkenness.

But Buck Froerer, assistant city attorney, said it is inappropriate for on-the-job workers to have alcohol or illegal drugs in their system.

"Ogden City exists to serve its citizens. Employees should be fit to perform those services," he said.

Under the policy, one of the reasons a supervisor can order an employee tested for alcohol or drug use is if he or she suspects the worker is impaired.