Hayes-White insists on drug and alcohol testing 

While the Fire Department could save about $175,000 a year by getting rid of its random drug and alcohol testing program, Chief Joanne Hayes-White isn’t going to let that happen without a fight.

The suggestion came up at a recent Fire Commission meeting about the Department’s expected shortfall of more than $13 million. While some were supportive of dumping the testing – only two firefighters have tested positive in the five years since its inception – Hayes-White said the testing has been so successful as a preventative measure that it has been emulated throughout the state.

It is “one of the Department’s top three accomplishments,” Hayes-White said, calling it “very progressive.”

Commission Vice President Stephen Nakajo also praised the testing as a “defensive move.” Firefighters have been accused of drinking on the job before, but hundreds of clean tests serve as proof that firefighters have been on their best behavior, Nakajo said.

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Brent Begin

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