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Schenectady solid waste supervisor not tested after accident

Schenectady solid waste supervisor not tested after accident

Union members would have been mandated to be tested
Schenectady solid waste supervisor not tested after accident
Schenectady City Hall
Photographer: Gazette file photo

City administrators are reviewing an accident involving the city’s solid waste director after it was revealed he did not immediately go for required post-accident alcohol and drug testing.

“The follow-up was not to my liking, and we’re dealing with it internally,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy.

Floyd Slater was reportedly operating a pickup truck with a new plow blade mounted on it on Jan. 17 when the blade dropped unexpectedly. When he lifted it, it struck a vehicle in front of his truck, according to city officials. City policy requires city employees involved in any accident be tested for alcohol or drugs, but Slater was not tested.

More from this week: Our top stories Feb. 2-8, 2019

There is no indication that Slater was impaired at the time of the accident. But city officials said the policy should still have been followed.

“We’ve reviewed that,” McCarthy said on Friday. “It was a minor accident during the snowstorm that normally wouldn’t even rise to level of calling the police, but the police were called.”

Nobody was injured in the 10:37 a.m. accident at Nott Terrace and State Street, and police issued no tickets. But Slater, rather than going for immediate testing, went several days later. The results of that test aren’t publicly available.

Slater is a management employee, so he is not covered by a labor union. The city’s labor contracts, including those with the Police Department and Public Works Department drivers, make clear that any union member involved in an accident with a city vehicle must immediately drive themselves — or be taken to — a place for testing.

McCarthy said such tests happen a number of times each year, given the number of city vehicles in operation. Management employees aren’t covered by union contracts but they are covered under a similar policy, McCarthy said. Not taking the test is considered the same as failing it and can result in a 30-day suspension.

City Councilman Vincent Riggi, chairman of the city’s Claims Committee, said he knows the testing policy is invoked when accidents occur, but he could not comment on the specific situation.

“Somebody’s car was damaged, so I would expect there to be a claim forthcoming,” he said.

Slater and his immediate supervisor, city Commissioner of General Services Paul LaFond, did not respond to requests for comment.

Slater, who has worked for the city for a number of years, has been a figure of controversy, with union employees last fall accusing both him and LaFond of bullying — charges neither LaFond nor Slater addressed publicly and that the city attorney denied.

As director of solid waste, Slater oversees the city’s garage collection fleet, but he is also involved in plowing during snowstorms.

The Times Union originally reported the apparent violation of city policy.

More from this week: Our top stories Feb. 2-8, 2019

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