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Balks When Subcommittee Asks for Sample : Official Refuses Drug Test He Backs for Others

March 18, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — An official of the Presidential Commission on Organized Crime refused today to provide a urine sample for a drug test before giving testimony to a House subcommittee on a proposal to require all federal workers to undergo such testing.

Calling the incident "a cheap stunt," Rodney Smith, deputy executive director of the commission, complained later to reporters that the recommendation would not require federal employees to be "lured before TV cameras" and asked to provide a specimen.

Smith was silent when Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Post Office and Civil Service subcommittee on human resources, asked him to take a specimen bottle, adjourn to the men's room and provide a urine sample for the subcommittee.

The specimen then would be tested, Ackerman told a startled Smith, directing an aide to take a small bottle to the witness table.

'Under Director Observation'

Ackerman told Smith the sample must be given "under the direct observation" of a subcommittee staff member.

The request was similar to the requirement being pushed by the commission, which wants federal employees to be tested for drugs after urine is "collected under the direct observation of a designated individual of the same sex."

President Reagan has indicated his support of the idea.

Smith protested that there was "no notice" by the subcommittee that he would be required to take a drug test.

"Are there warnings to federal employees as to when their urine will be tested?" Ackerman asked.

Smith promised to address the question in his testimony, but Ackerman interrupted him and asked if Smith was refusing to comply with the request.

Speaking for Smith, commission member Barbara Rowan of Alexandria, Va., said he would "absolutely not" provide the specimen before testifying.

"I thank you for very eloquently proving the point that we have set out to prove," Ackerman said.

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