The New Jersey Civil Service Commission has upheld the firing of a Paterson firefighter after he failed a random drug test.
Eric Beagin had higher than acceptable level of Oxycodone in his system a random drug test revealed. He was suspended on Aug. 13, 2015 for being “unfit for duty” and conduct unbecoming a public employee. He was later fired.
Beagin appealed the decision with the New Jersey Civil Service Commission questioning the reliability and trustworthiness of the drug test at the New Jersey State Toxicology Laboratory. He also raised doubts about the interpretation of the results by the lab.
A judge issued an initial decision in his favor in Oct. 2019 after hearing testimony from a pair of toxicologists. However, municipal officials urged the New Jersey Civil Service Commission to reject the judge’s initial decision.
On Dec. 4, 2019, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission did not adopt the recommendation of the administrative law judge. Rather, it upheld Beagin’s termination. Had the judge’s decision been adopted the case would have had immense ripple effects throughout New Jersey, municipal officials said.
Beagin was hired as a firefighter in Mar. 2009, according to municipal records.
“We always believed the system would work,” said public safety director Jerry Speziale.