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Two Oswego DPW workers accused of having drugs while on the job fired, mayor says

Photos courtesy Oswego Police

Two Oswego Department of Public Works employees accused of having drugs while on the job have been fired, according to Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow.

Oswego Police said the pair was arrested at the McDonald’s off Route 104 for drug possession after an Oswego police officer allegedly saw the pair behaving suspiciously. Upon further investigation, the officer allegedly found the DPW workers were in possession of controlled substances.

Eric Christman, 30, and Joshua Smith, 26 — both from the city of Oswego — face charges of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. Christman is also facing charges for Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Needle. Police say all the charges are misdemeanors.

According to officials, the pair was working at the time.

“They were clearly observed doing this activity they’re obviously not permitted to do in a city vehicle, or on city time and we have a zero-tolerance policy,” Barlow said. “Obviously I’m disappointed, but hopefully these employees will learn from this.”

Officials said Smith was found in possession of two non-prescribed suboxone strips, and Christman was found with a small amount of cocaine base or crack.

Barlow said this type of behavior does not reflect the work ethic of the over 60 employees with the DPW.

“I’m extremely confident that this is an isolated incident and it’s important to not paint a broad brush with all the Oswego DPW employees over there they do a great job, they’re good people, and hopefully these individuals will learn from this and try to move on,” Barlow said.

He said he wants the city’s timely response to send a clear message.

“I’m not going to put up with this type of behavior. The taxpayers don’t deserve this sort of behavior, and we’ll act based on considering those two issues,” Barlow added.

After being processed, Christman and Smith were released with appearance tickets. They're due to appear in Oswego City Court on May 24.

Mayor Barlow issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

“We have absolutely zero tolerance in the City of Oswego for this sort of behavior within City government. This behavior does not reflect the other employees at the Department of Public Works and Oswego tax payers deserve better. We have already terminated one employee and we are currently reviewing all information to make a determination on the future of the second employee involved. We will finish that review by the end of business today. We believe this to be an isolated incident involving exclusively these two employees. I commend the work done by the Oswego Police Department. The Department of Public Works has worked with the Oswego Police Department to fully investigate this issue and we will continue to closely monitor our employees to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. We will further continue our zero-tolerance policy moving forward”.
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