Asbury Park Mayor John Moor asked City Attorney Fred Raffetto at a recent work session to research the legalities of implementing a “fitness for work” policy for the city.
His request came directly after Councilman Jesse Kendle suggested introducing a policy allowing for random drug tests for city employees.
Moor asked Raffetto to discuss the issue with the city’s labor counsel and see what the legal issues are and seek recommendations.
Raffetto said he would speak to the labor attorney and report back to the mayor and council.
“I will get back to you as to how we would effectuate it,” Raffetto said.
The move brought accolades from a former city employee, Laura Ross of Long Branch, who spoke at the city’s regular meeting the next day, Oct. 8.
“When I was working for the city, if you lit a match near some employees, they might have burned up…what goes on is unconscionable,” Ross said.
She recounted a story regarding an employee punching a hole in the wall during the work day.
“This person distributes federal funds…enough is enough is enough,” she said.
During public comments Moor told resident Tim Paris that the railroad crossing at Summerfield Avenue, which is now closed, will not be reopening.
Moor said a former city employee had entered into a contract with the Department of Transportation to close the crossing forever.
Moor explained that NJ Transit initially wanted to close six crossings along Memorial Drive, which was later changed to three, but when the new administration was elected they began negotiations to change those plans.
The major concern, said the mayor, is allowing access by fire trucks to the southwest quadrant of the city.
“We had a brutal fight with them, we tried to fight over Summerfield but a past employee agreed to it and so we were kind of left hanging,” Moor said.
In exchange Moor said the county agreed to pick up the costs of paving Monroe Avenue and the Park Place alley which will become a one way.
Moor also said part of the contract gives the fire department control over the traffic lights during emergency calls to allow for quicker travel time to fires and other emergencies. The county is also picking up the costs for that equipment.
Moor said he is not happy with the Summerfield crossing being closed but is not in the position to change it.
“We are not happy about it, but at one time they wanted six closed,” he said.
Also during public comments resident Rita Marano asked why two city employees were allowed to complete work at one of Interfaith Neighbors properties and get paid for that work, while they were on the clock with the city.
Moor and other council members said they knew nothing of the incident but agreed it would not be proper if it occurred and promised to look into it.
Deputy City Manager Kevin Keddy asked Marano for more specific information so he could investigate.
Also at the meeting Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton read a proclamation honoring members of the Second Baptist Church which is celebrating it’s 130th anniversary in the city.