Pass Christian leaders toughen employee drinking policy

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - There aren't many work places that tolerate drinking alcohol on the job and Pass Christian city leaders want to make it clear to city employees that they won't tolerate it either.

Wednesday night aldermen were expected to update the policy on alcohol use on city property.

WLOX News spoke to city officials about why they are spelling out the rules to their 85 workers.

City leaders said they discovered their drinking policy needed to be strengthened after two separate incidents around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

"City hall closed officially at noon. Some of the employees decided to order pizza. And after they finished ordering pizza and eating pizza they decided to have a toast for the Thanksgiving holiday and several city employees participated," said city attorney Malcolm Jones.

Jones said a similar incident happened when some office workers decked the city hall Christmas tree.

"While they were decorating the Christmas tree after 5:00, after dark, a couple of people did go ahead and drink a single cup of beer or wine or something like that," Mayor Chipper McDermott said.  "From that, some people found out about it and took offense to it.  I assume, which rightfully so, we have corrected it.  It won't happen again."

The mayor, who was not at any of the after hour office parties, took immediate action.

"Our previous policy in our handbook specified that you had to be on duty at work. And he wanted to make it clear, that even if you were off duty, but still on city property, you could not consume alcohol," explained Jones.

"We've cured that, now there will be none on, during, before, after, or in between," McDermott said.

Once adopted, the new policy will go into the city's employee handbook. The handbook will also include the penalties involved, which could be as harsh as dismissal.

The no drinking policy in the City of Pass Christian will have on exception.

The annual Mayor's toast of the king and queen at the St. Paul Carnival Association parade will still take place, without fear of retribution.

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