Thursday, March 08, 2001

Funds needed for urine tests done between contracts




By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Hamilton County Probation Department will enter into a new contract with Tristate Phlebotomy in April that will pay the company more than $23,000 per month to process urine samples for the department.

        But first, probation officials have to pay the bills for tests handled from the time their contract with Tristate was canceled on Jan. 25 until the new contract takes effect.

        That led Assistant Chief Probation Officer Tim Shannon to ask Hamilton County commissioners Wednesday for $50,000 in emergency funds to pay for the tests.

        Mr. Shannon also had to request permission to allow Tristate to handle the urine tests until April without going through a competitive bidding process.

        Without the emergency cash, there would have been no testing of offenders for more than a month.

        Since 1999, the number of people going through court-ordered urinalysis has jumped from 9,100 to more than 39,000. That led Tristate to tell the county it needed a new contract if the number of tests was going to remain that high.

        “The court has moved more and more people into urinalysis,” Mr. Shannon explained. “Before, it was just prime drug abusers.

        “Now, it's check passers, burglars, people who receive stolen property: If the offense seems to be driven by drugs, they'll go into the program.”

        The request angered Commissioner Todd Portune, who questioned why the department came to the commission with a 5-week-old problem.

        “I don't like this as a way of doing business,” Mr. Portune said. “This is presented as an emergency, five weeks into an uncovered period.

        “But if we don't do this, there won't be testing for a month. That doesn't serve the community.”

        Mr. Shannon said he started working on the issue with the county prosecutor's office in September.

        “I just couldn't sequence this as fast as I would have liked,” Mr. Shannon said.

       



Ohio powers praise Rhodes
Schools confront Web of deceit
Private firm could revamp high schools
Prosecutor appointed
PULFER: Violent kids
Cheers follow Clark resignation
Police: Officers didn't violate policy
Furniture store owner plans to rebuild
Judge won't act on man's claims
Low-rated schools see slow, steady progress
Aides wanted memo rewritten
Beetles' destruction forces rare woodpeckers from state
Board urges adult schooling
Court: Federal benefits don't alter child support
Dispute over art is carved in stone
Four-hour standoff ends peacefully
- Funds needed for urine tests done between contracts
Gun threat puts student in custody
Hemp research in Ky. draws near
Judge clears man in robbery
Life starts at egg-sperm stage, Ky. Senate says
Light blamed in fire
Mom's photos of daughter not obscene
Money needed to pay for urine tests
Shaken baby's dad gets eight-year prison term
State closes 2 Web sites
Students take journey to learn about energy-efficient building
Sweep seizes hundreds of guns
Sweeper worth $100K among arson damage
Tristate delegation backing Bush
Woman, 48, pleads guilty to sex with teens
Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report