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Aldermen Want Colleagues to Submit to Drug Testing

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Aldermen Want Drug Testing For Colleagues
Jack Higgins
Aldermen Want Drug Testing For Colleagues

Scott Ross, Getty Images

Hoping it would reduce "errors in judgment," a pair of Chicago aldermen on Wednesday proposed random drug tests for city workers and aldermen.

Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and Pat O'Connor (40th) cited information from the National Institute of Drug abuse in proposing the legislation.  The organization said drug and alcohol abusers are "five times more likely to file a worker's compensation case."

Currently, only police officers, firefighters and drivers with commercial drivers licenses are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.

"Chicago aldermen should be included ... because elected officials should lead by example," Burke said in a press release.

The move, if adopted by the full City Council, would also be seen as a way of protecting citizens.  Just last month, a Department of Streets and Sanitation worker was charged with driving under the influence after crashing a city vehicle into a group of people on a Gold Coast sidewalk.

O'Connor said it was that situation that sparked his interest in the drug testing idea.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Chicago Housing Authority caused controversy when it proposed requiring anyone who is at least 18 years of age to submit to drug testing in order to live in subsidized housing.

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