The Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department inserted a new drug policy into their handbook Wednesday. This, just one day after they upheld the suspension of the mayor's wife for failing to take a drug test after an accident.
Tuesday, the board voted to uphold the two-week suspension handed down to Trudy Redus, wife of Pine Bluff Mayor Carl Redus, after she crashed a city utility vehicle April 28th.
The city drug policy says employees have to take a drug test immediately. As of May 15th, Redus had not taken one. KARK obtained a copy of Redus' job application. It shows where she signed that she'd abide by all city rules and regulations. The commission voted not to terminate her because she never received the city handbook, only one for the department.
Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation's Saracen Landing Manager Trudy Redus remains suspended without pay after a Parks and Recreation commission meeting Tuesday night, following her failure to take a drug test after crashing a city utility vehicle in April.
With statement in hand, Redus wife of Mayor Carl Redus, defended herself, opening up about the accident that put her job and family's safety on the line.
"Yes, I was very negligent, I hurt my child. I hit an outpost that's a fact," she said.
Redus' statement and a police report detail her crashing into a pole while driving a city utility vehicle around 8:30 am April 28th. The accident left her son, Trey, with a head gash and requiring immediate medical attention.
She says he's recovering, but now her reputation is taking the hit.
"I think she was not terminated immediately because she is the mayor's wife, she violated the drug policy," said Reverend Jesse C. Turner, one of about a half dozen community members who showed up, pushing for Redus to be drug tested or terminated.
A group of concerned citizens filled the small meeting room with signs and questions asking why Redus didn't take a drug test as all city employees are required to.
Redus called it a matter of the heart, not an act of insubordination.
"After I saw my child, I was no longer Saracen Landing Manager, I was Trudy Redus, mommy," said Redus.
But her boss parks director Angela Parker contends not only did Redus not take a test when instructed, but that she lied saying she had.
"And then you said I just want to let you know, I took care of the drug test and HR can call for results next week," Parks said.
"That's not true I never said that I know I hadn't, cause I hadn't gone to take the drug test yet," Redus countered.
"We never received a statement from the nurse, so it's Ms. Redus' word versus Ms. Parker's word," said commission president Teki Hunt-Jimenez.
So the board decided to scratch the he-say she say and focus on the drug testing policy and realized they didn't have an official one.
And while they've held employees to the city standards they never officially adopted pine bluff's policy until now.
"We don't want anymore questions about what policy you're find to follow," said Jimenez.
The commission decided to uphold Redus' suspension but they lifted her one year probation.
The director still has the power to fire her but says she won't because all five commissioners don't have her back.
Following Mrs. Redus' crash the commission also discussed implementing new policies for training employees to drive city vehicles, and also one banning non-employees under 18 from riding in city cars.
They'll continue discussing the policies at their next meeting.