By Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

The Byron Village Council voted during its January meeting to establish conditions of employment for village employees. New village employees will now have to submit to drug screenings and driving record checks, and the council will most likely add a criminal background check condition in February.
Village attorney John Gormley proposed the addition of employment conditions following a recommendation from the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority. The council voted unanimously to add annual driving record checks and council pro-tem Tony Prestonise was the only council member to oppose adding random drug screenings.
The council had voted in December to hire Prestonise and fellow council member Hugh Miller as part-time Department of Public Works (DPW) employees to assist current DPW employee, Dan Bretzlaff. The council did not impose employment conditions in that instance, though it did when Zach Ritter and Dale Hibbard were hired as DPW employees in September. The discrepancy was questioned by at least one person on a social media site, which did not sit well with Miller.
“The only people who knew Tony and I didn’t think we needed background checks was the office,” said Miller. “So how does this person find out? I have a Class A CDL and the state randomly calls for drug tests. I cannot refuse a test.”
The village office reports that Miller and Prestonise have yet to complete the paperwork that would make them official DPW employees, but they would be subject to random drug screenings and would have their driving records checked annually if they do eventually become employees.
The decision on adding criminal background checks was tabled until the Feb. 8 meeting so the council can further research the issue of what constitutes a “failed” test.
Since Prestonise and Miller have not yet become official employees, the village again finds itself without the services of a DPW employee, as Bretzlaff is currently on a two-month vacation. The council recently received applications for the position from former Byron Village President Rick Musall and Linden resident Joshua Boatright and held a special meeting Wednesday, Jan. 27 to discuss the applicants.
The council did not reach an agreement on the two candidates on Jan. 27, but the village will hold another special meeting Monday, Feb. 1 where a vote is likely.

Byron Village Council was last modified: February 1st, 2016 by Karen Elford