By Lorri Ooley
The government council for the City of Elephant Butte met the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 17, in which they discussed the adoption of a new policy for city employees regarding drug and alcohol.
Additionally, the city council is considering the possibility of assuming management of Dam Site Recreation Area and the surrounding land of Elephant Butte Lake, which is currently under an expiring contract between the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and New Mexico State Parks (NMSP).
After lengthy discussion, of which the city council listened to input from both City Manager Alan Briley and staff, the council ultimately and unanimously adopted a temporary personnel policy for drug and alcohol. This temporary policy utilizes the newly adopted the State of New Mexico’s policy, with the specified inclusion of blood analysis in the biological specimens to be randomly collected.
Mayor Eunice Kent and several members of the council voiced their concern over including this form of testing specifically in the motion. Currently, this form of testing is considered the most accurate when attempting to detect illicit drugs.
The council and staff cautioned specific language in regards to defining or limiting the understanding of “employee” and “volunteer.”
Council member Sarah Stagner expressed specific concern that the policy may become tangled when using or defining “volunteer,” as the city relies heavily on residents of the community during special events and holiday celebrations.
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