Park County will likely start drug and alcohol testing its buildings and grounds employees in the near future as a way to save money.
At a Park County commissioners meeting held June 18, the board discussed the possibility of enacting the monthly random drug tests. Not a single member of the board expressed opposition to the proposition.
“With all the county equipment and county vehicles … (buildings and grounds) department uses I think it makes sense to include them if we head this direction,” commissioner Jake Fulkerson said.
The move could save the county nearly $5,000 annually or 3.3 percent of its total annual costs with the State of Wyoming for workers compensation fees. In 2018 Park paid $166,377 for its workers comp coverage.
The 22 members of county buildings and grounds staff make up about 10 percent of all county employees. In order to qualify for the discount, the county must mandate at least 10 percent of its employees be subject to testing, said county buildings and grounds superintendent Mike Garza.
Currently, buildings and grounds is the only county department with a written health and safety program. Since enacting the safety plan the county has already saved roughly 6.6 percent annually on its workers comp.
“We’re missing the last third which is a drug and alcohol (testing) program,” Garza said.
Garza said employees would be randomly tested after the entire department takes an initial test. Each test would cost $85, which Fulkerson said would likely be paid by the county. Garza said the county would likely use WY Test of Worland to facilitate the tests.
As part of the new workers comp testing, the county could also test employees if an accident occurs on the job.
All county law enforcement personnel are currently tested as well as certain road and bridge employees, in order to maintain their commercial driver’s licenses, as required by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
It’s one of a number of cost-saving measures being looked at. Fulkerson already said the county will have a tight budget for the next fiscal year. That budget will be unveiled Tuesday.
“Things will be cut real tight this year,” he said.
Fulkerson said the commissioners will possibly decide on the testing at their July 2 meeting. Garza said his department has never enacted department-wide testing before.
“Anytime you create policy that changes a normal working relationship it’s going to cause some issues,” he said. “It’s hard to say who it might effect.”