Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 5, 2013

City to expand drug testing

Mike James
The Independent

ASHLAND — Spending a few more dollars for expanded drug testing will save the city thousands in worker compensation fees, Ashland city manager Steve Corbitt said.

The city commission gave initial approval Thursday to the expanded coverage.

The city, which has had a drug testing program for years, will now require an expanded 10-panel test for all new hires and for random testing of all employees, Corbitt said.

Previously the expanded test was required for police and fire departments only. Other departments used a five-panel test. The expanded test detects more drugs.

The expanded test costs more, and with the city administering anywhere from 150 to 200 tests per year, the total bill could be “a couple of thousand” dollars higher, Corbitt said.

However, using the expanded test citywide means Ashland can receive a certification through the Kentucky Department of Worker Claims and that qualifies the city for a 5 percent discount on its worker compensation coverage through the Kentucky League of Cities.

The coverage cost was about $330,000 last year, so based on that amount the savings would be about $16,500, Corbitt said.

Ashland already has cut its worker compensation costs because claims have dropped, he said.

In 2007 through 2009 it paid about $440,000 per year, he said. The drop in claims resulted from safety programs.

MIKEā€ˆJAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.