SCHENECTADY — The chairwoman of the city’s Claims Committee is blasting the city for what she contends is a chronic inability to follow protocol for city employees involved in traffic crashes, including performing drug tests on drivers and filing police reports.
“It’s time after time after time that this is mismanaged and poorly attended to,” Councilwoman Leesa Perazzo said.
Perazzo faulted the process after the city Claims Committee emerged from an executive session Monday to discuss potential settlements with drivers related to two traffic crashes involving city workers.
One crash lacked a paper trail, she said, including whether a police report was filed and if the driver was drug-tested.
“No one knows if there was coaching or disciplinary action taken,” Perazzo said. “We owe it to [taxpayers] to ensure city property and policies are adhered to.”
The lawmaker chalked the lapse up to poor oversight — not malfeasance, and said its a recurring issue.
“As good stewards of taxpayer money, we should make sure the system was adhered to and immediately answer why protocol was followed or not. And if it wasn’t followed, why?” Perazzo said after the meeting.
Filing police reports and conducting drug tests are mandatory, she said, calling on the mayor to tighten up the process.
Mayor Gary McCarthy characterized the crashes as “fender benders” involving garbage trucks.
City Code addresses protocol for what happens when city employees witness accidents caused by other city employees using city equipment: tTey must file written reports with department heads within 48 hours, which then must be filed with the city’s Law Department.
Yet the code does not directly address procedures for the employees directly involved in the incidents.
Whether employees should be drug-tested is subject to collective bargaining agreements, McCarthy said after the meeting.
“And for some titles in the city, I don’t have the ability to do drug testing,” McCarthy said.
Police take control of the scene during an investigation, and part of that process can involve drug testing, he said.
“It’s unfortunate when city employees have accidents,” McCarthy said. “You try to follow up and try to minimize them.”
The city Claims Committee moved the pending settlements out of committee, which are subject to a full vote at next week’s City Council meeting.