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CATS parts with employee who was the focus of WBRZ report

2 years 9 months 3 days ago Monday, October 18 2021 Oct 18, 2021 October 18, 2021 4:23 PM October 18, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) parted ways with an employee who was the focus of a WBRZ Investigative Unit report after he failed a pre-employment drug screen.

Following WBRZ's story, sources told the WBRZ Investigative Unit, Garrick Rose showed up to work with a blood-alcohol level two times over the legal limit for driving. Those sources also said Rose refused to take a drug test. Rose worked an administrative position and did not drive a bus.

When WBRZ reported Rose failed his pre-employment drug screen, CATS gave a shaky explanation about their zero-tolerance policy. That policy was selectively enforced to not include Rose, even though Rose had failed his drug test. At the time, CEO Bill Deville acted like he had no idea.

"Are you serious?" Deville said when WBRZ questioned him. "You're talking personnel. I can't talk personnel."

After WBRZ's story about the failed drug test, sources said Rose showed up to work acting peculiar. He was given a breathalyzer test and blew over 0.20 percent. The legal limit to drive is less than 0.08 percent. When Rose was offered a drug test, he refused it and was marked as an "automatic fail," sources said.

Elijah Pipersburg used to be the policy coordinator at CATS.

"Create a committee, ensure there is an accurate process to make sure policies get passed and bring it to the board, and then create procedures to make sure the policies are being followed," Pipersburg said.

He quit a few months ago after getting fed up with policies not applying to everyone.

"If CATS is ever going to be an agency that the public is going to be proud of, they have to enforce rules for everybody," Pipersburg said. "It can't be pay for play, shake for friends. Everyone has to be treated equally and the policies have to be applied equally, rather from the top down or bottom up."

When WBRZ confronted Rose about his failed drug test and how he got to keep a job when others did not, his response was shaky.

"Possession of stolen medical records is a violation of HIPAA," Rose said. "You've committed a felony."

People like Pipersburg believe CATS will continue to face trust issues when they can't answer the most basic questions.

"My whole life is public service," Pipersburg said. "I majored in public service. Came here to do good work for the people of Baton Rouge and the people of Louisiana. Anything that's shady and corrupt, I don't want to be a part of. I want to be a part of a change for Louisiana and Baton Rouge."

Monday, the WBRZ Investigative Unit asked CATS why they decided to enforce the zero-tolerance policy for Rose all of a sudden. Their longtime public information officer recently left, and we did not hear back.

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