March 9, 2007
(For Board: March 23, 2007)

 

REPORT OF THE RULES, POLICY AND INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Honorable Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, March 9, 2007, at 9:45 a.m., Chair Pahre presiding.

Committee Members Present (6): Chair Pahre; Vice Chair Hernández; Directors Grosboll, Martini, McGlashan and Newhouse Segal
Committee Members Absent (3): Directors McGoldrick and Sandoval; President Moylan (Ex Officio)
Other Directors Present (7): Directors Ammiano, Boro, Cochran, Eddie, Middlebrook, Reilly and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (13): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, Martini, McGlashan, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (6): Directors Brown, Dufty, Kerns, McGoldrick, Sandoval; President Moylan

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Benefits Administrator Betti Conder; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: None

     
1. Approve Actions Relative to the District’s Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Program and Related Policies
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Director of Human Resources Larry Daniel, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to the District’s Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Program (Program) and related policies.

The report stated that the Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 94-280 at its meeting of December 16, 1994, authorized adoption of a Substance Abuse Policy, as mandated by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and in accordance with 49 CFR Part 653 and Part 654, specifying random testing rates of 50 percent for certain drug categories and 25 percent for alcohol for safety-sensitive employees, with the understanding that minor clarifications to the policy and implementation procedures were subject to the District’s various bargaining units. The Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2000-183 at its meeting of September 29, 2000, authorized that the random testing level for alcohol be reduced from 25 percent to 10 percent, the minimum testing level required by federal regulations.

The report also stated that the FTA, as published in the Federal Register dated January 9, 2007, reduced its new minimum testing levels from 50 percent to 25 percent for random drug testing, noting that the positive rate for random drug testing has been declining every year since 2002. In addition, the FTA stated that it is the option of the transit employer to either adopt the new lower rate or to retain a higher rate if desired, based on factors, such as the agency’s own positive test rate, the number of tests needed to procure quality testing services and the size of the random pool.

The report further stated that the applicable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for specific safety-sensitive employees in the Bus Transit Division establishes random testing levels of 50 percent for drugs and 10 percent for alcohol, and the MOU states that these testing levels are to be established without exceeding FTA testing requirements. Random testing levels for specific safety-sensitive employees in the Ferry Transit Division are subject to U.S. Coast Guard testing requirements, which maintains a random drug testing rate of 50 percent.

It is recommended that the District’s Program be amended and that the General Manager be authorized to modify the Program and related policies in the future, to comply with amended federal regulations, with the understanding that any provision or change which exceeds the minimum standard required by law will be subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. A copy of the staff report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Ms. Mantony summarized the staff report, noting that the proposed action will give the General Manager the flexibility in the future to adjust the District’s random testing level and related policies to match the minimum requirements under federal law. She further reported that, in the future, the Board would have to approve any revisions to District policy that exceed minimum requirements.


Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Hernández inquired as to whether the language in the MOUs of individual collective bargaining units allows for the flexibility to modify the minimum random testing levels if the District’s positive testing rate increases above normal levels in the future. In response, Ms. Mantony explained that other than the Amalgamated Transit Union’s MOU, none of the other collective bargaining units’ MOUs include specific language regarding minimum testing levels. Ms. Mantony stated that if the District contemplated such a change, the District would undertake the meet-and-confer process with individual collective bargaining units.

Staff recommended, and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors MARTINI/STROEH to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve the following actions relative to the District’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Program and related policies:

  a.
Amend the District’s Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Program relative to random drug testing level from 50 percent to 25 percent for the designated District safety-sensitive employees, subject to the Federal Transit Administration’s regulations for drug and alcohol testing, in accordance with minimum testing levels specified by the Federal Transit Administration’s regulations (49 CFR Part 655), as amended in a Notice published in the Federal Register (Volume 72, No. 5, Pages 1057 through 1058) dated January 9, 2007; and,
  b.

Authorize the General Manager to modify the Drug and Alcohol Testing Program and related policies in the future, to comply with amended federal regulations, subject to a review and analysis as provided in the guidelines, with the understanding that any provision or change which exceeds the minimum standard required by law will be subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

     
 
AYES (13): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, Martini, McGlashan, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro
NOES (0): None
     
2. Public Comment
     
 

There was no public comment.

     
3. Adjournment
     
 

All business having been concluded, the meeting was declared adjourned at 9:55 a.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Barbara L. Pahre, Chair
Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee