Council prez restricts access to city cars after DUI incident involving staffers

Council President Darrell Clarke says that after two Council staffers were arrested for drunk driving in city vehicles, he’s going to put new restrictions on Council’s pool cars.

“I’m going to lock the keys up,” Clarke said at a press conference this afternoon.

Clarke has already fired the two Council staffers charged with illegal activity over the weekend. Council receptionist Robin Jones, 50, was charged with DUI after she drove a city-owned 2008 Chevy Cobalt into a building at about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. While at the scene, she called sergeant-at-arms Rodney Williams, 42, who showed up “visibly intoxicated” in a city-owned 1997 Ford Explorer, police said. Williams was hit with a DUI charge also.

The duo had no permission to take out the vehicles, part of the three-car pool for the members and staffers in the Democratic majority on Council, Clarke said. Council staffers who want to use the cars are supposed to submit a request in writing for approval. The receptionist charged with handing out the keys to an approved list of staffers and Council members was not in the office Friday and gave that responsibility to Williams, Clarke said.

Clarke said Williams and Jones abused their access to the keys. He said that in future, the keys would be locked up and another staffer would be in charge of reviewing who gets the cars. But Clarke also stressed that the previous policy was not the problem, but the staffers intent on misbehaving.

“At the end of the day if a policy in place and rules and regulations are in place and someone decided not to follow them it doesn’t matter what that policy is,” Clarke said.

Clarke also said having pool cars was important for staffers who need to get to night meetings and other events.