Drug Test Issue Irks Corne!

Drug Test Issue Irks Corne!
Posted by FoM on July 15, 1999 at 11:02:50 PT
By Kevin Kinnaird, Courier & Press staff writer
Source: Evansville Courier & Press 
BOONVILLE, Ind. — Warrick County Prosecutor Todd Corne said Wednesday that employees of his office never appeared for the county’s mandatory drug-testing program in May because county officials failed to notify them.
Corne, in a two-page letter faxed to Warrick County commissioners and the media Wednesday, snapped back at accusations that his office was neglecting to participate in the county’s mandatory random drug-testing program. “I have asked every member of my staff whether they received this notification, and all report that they did not,” Corne’s statement said. Corne also called the letter he received Wednesday from commissioners “a complete lack of respect” of the judiciary because it questioned the department for not participating in the program. The issue stems from a discussion held Monday by the County Commission and its decision to send the letter to the offices of Warrick County’s three judges and its prosecutor, questioning why employees in those offices failed to report for baseline drug testing in May. A county policy that took effect Jan. 1 requires all county employees be accessible to random drug testing. All three judges said Tuesday they were concerned about numerous constitutional questions the issue has raised — including separation of powers, which forbids one branch of government from dictating the actions of the other. Corne said he received a letter from the county dated April 30 inviting his office to an informational session on drug testing in early May, a copy of which was attached to his statement to the news media Wednesday. A second letter supplied by Corne shows his office was notified May 5 that the informal session was optional. Corne replied with a letter to county officials the same day notifying them he could not attend because of scheduling conflicts. “We do plan to cooperate and participate in the county drug and alcohol testing program and would be glad to attend another session on a different date and time,” Corne said in the letter to officials. Warrick County Administrator Brian Burdette said Wednesday that when the company hired to administer the tests arrived in town unannounced on May 12, an employee in the commissioners office began summoning departments to take the test in a trailer behind the new county judicial center. Among those departments he said was called was the county prosecutor’s office. Burdette said an employee of that office notified commissioners they would not participate. Corne, however, said his office has no record of receiving the call. “I am not opposed to alcohol and drug testing,” Corne said. “But it would be of my employees under my supervision.” In his letter, Corne told county officials: “My staff are employees of the prosecuting attorney’s office for the second judicial circuit of Indiana. I am the one who is responsible for the operation of this office and its staff. You do not fire my staff. You do not hire my staff. You do not set policy for my staff. I do.” Pubdate: Thursday, July 15, 1999 (812)464-7594 or kkinn evansville.netEvansville Courier & Press 
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