ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Property Assessor Jeff Thacker told the County Commission Monday he will put his own drug testing policy in place within three months to prevent the county from losing a $17,541 state discount on its workman’s comp insurance premium.
On Friday the commission’s Public Safety Committee received a report from the county’s Local Government Insurance Pool (LGIP) representative that Thacker’s failure to comply with countywide random drug testing would result in the county losing the 5 percent discount offered by the state.
Thacker wasn’t told that subject was going to be discussed at Friday’s committee meeting and didn’t attend.
But he told the Times-News on Sunday he doesn’t believe the county’s random drug testing policy follows state law and it violates the rights of his employees.
Monday evening Thacker reiterated those concerns before the full county commission, although he did promise to have his own random drug testing policy and program in place by March 14 so that the county doesn’t lose its 5 percent discount.
“I am not against drug testing, however, I am against the way that it has been implemented in Hawkins County,” Thacker told the commission. “It is part of my job as the assessor of property to operate my office according to the constitutions of the state of Tennessee and the United States of America — to protect not only the public from a possible lawsuit but also the rights of the employees who work for the assessor’s office. To my knowledge, three months has been given by the Safety Committee to address this issue in each office’s personnel policy, at which time I am currently working on.”For an expanded version of this article, please see Tuesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.