Unsafe driving could cost BJWSA employees their jobs

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Unsafe driving could cost BJWSA employees their jobs

By ERIN MOODY
emoody@beaufortgazette.com
Published Saturday, March 24, 2012   |  378 Words  |  

Employees at Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority who don't drive safely while working or on personal time could face disciplinary actions or lose their jobs.

The board of directors approved changes last week to a policy that requires driving-record checks for new employees and annual checks for current employees.

Human resources manager John Wells said about 90 of the company's 165 employees drive on the job. The policy changes outline how the authority treated driving infractions in the past and what penalties employees face, he said.

"We don't want to hire anyone, or even retain people, who are not safe drivers, because we all have to drive on these roads," he said.

Disciplinary action would be taken for:

  • One major infraction, such as driving while intoxicated or speeding more than 25 mph over the limit.
  • Two citations within 12 months, such as failing to yield or wear a seatbelt.
  • Three citations within 24 months, or four citations within 36 months.
  • Two "preventable" accidents within 36 months, as determined by a review committee.
  • Four observations of infractions by coworkers, the public or other reliable sources.
  • Canceled or suspended driver's license.
  • Applicants will not be hired if they fall into any of these categories or if their driving or criminal records would make them ineligible for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor badge. Employees need the badges because in 2008, the authority took over management of water and sewer service at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Laurel Bay Housing, Naval Hospital Beaufort and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.

    Formal counseling will be part of all disciplinary measures. If additional infractions occur within 24 months, the employee must attend and pay for a defensive-driving course and face additional disciplinary action, including termination.

    The changes were not brought about by a specific incident, Wells said. He could recall only two incidents in which an employee was fired because of driving problems -- one last year and the other more than a decade ago.

    Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonBeaufort.

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    Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority