Jeffersontown council wants stronger hiring practices - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Jeffersontown council wants stronger hiring practices

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Clay Foreman, Jeffersontown mayor Clay Foreman, Jeffersontown mayor

By Caton Bredar - bio  | email 
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

JEFFERSONTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Jeffersontown City Council members are expressing anger over what they're calling, careless hiring practices by their mayor, which includes a lack of drug testing for city workers. The issue surfaced late last week when public works director Joseph McMillan was arrested on drug charges. McMillan was fired after police found him in possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. WAVE 3's Caton Bredar was at an emergency meeting called by the council where things were tense.

It appears that it is not in instance. Joseph McMillan has a long record dating back to 1985 and including at least eight arrests, most of them involving drugs or alcohol. That is the type of information council members believe Mayor Clay Foreman should have known about before hiring McMillan, a man the mayor said he knew well and who was highly qualified for the job.

Because Monday's meeting was a special meeting, public commentary was not permitted. Discussion was limited to council members, and the topic on the agenda. That topic - city policies and procedures for employee hiring.  

"We, the city council members, do not have anything to do with the decisions you make. Yet we are getting the blame for them," said Carol Pike, a Jeffersontown city council member.

The hot button issue: how the mayor went about hiring the now-former public works director.

"Was not a background check or drug screening done on this individual?" asked Anita Johnson, another Jeffersontown city council member.  

"We do not have any kind of drug testing. We do not have any kind of pre-employment background check that I can think of, that's very thorough. Our application doesn't even ask if you've been convicted of a felony," said David Quinlan, a fellow council member.

Foreman says in hindsight, he wished had done a background check, but that the former director was someone he knew, and that his driver's license was current.

"The successful applicant for that job had a valid commercial driver's license. And as I said earlier, those folks who have a CDL are held to a much higher standard," said Foreman.

"Why did this individual come to the top of a nationwide search, and why did he come to the top, when you've known him for such a long time and he has such a record?" asked city council member Kay Ackerson.

"I'll be the first to tell you, I did not know about his record. He's been an acquaintance of mine," Foreman replied.

Ackerson said to Foreman, "I feel you have neglected your duties by hiring an individual like this in a key position."

After the meeting Foreman told reporters, "I'm disappointed. I characterize my relationship with him more as an acquaintance. We're friends. I certainly wouldn't want to hire any enemy."

The City Council did pass a motion mandating drug screening as soon as possible for all city employees and they want that testing to include council members and the mayor.

Another special meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, September 11th to discuss details for implementing the new policy.

McMillan is due back in court Tuesday.