PALMDALE — The City Council is set to discuss COVID-19 vaccination mandates at tonight’s meeting, but City Manager J.J. Murphy said, Tuesday, that no mandate has been proposed, nor does he feel one is needed for city staff.
“I told the employees this, that I’m not going to mandate their employment on taking a vaccine,” Murphy said.
The item is listed on the agenda for discussion only; no action may be taken.
It was included on the agenda in response to the community that wants to have the conversation, Murphy said.
No mandate policy is forthcoming, he said.
“There is not going to be a policy coming forward, with my signature, that will ever mandate a vaccine for employees to keep their jobs,” Murphy said.
There hasn’t been any pressure from the Council to move in that direction, he said.
“I believe we’re unified,” he said. “We’re not pressing for it.”
Murphy said he received emails on both sides of the issue, and worked with staff to craft a balanced policy.
“I have consistently spoken to the employees and told them that my role is to bring forward policies and procedures to a) keep them healthy, and b) in keeping them healthy, follow as much as possible the county guidelines,” Murphy said.
Full-time city employees who are vaccinated must be tested monthly for COVID, while those who are unvaccinated must be tested weekly.
Murphy was the first to get tested, on Sept. 30, to set the example for employees.
Those employees who are unvaccinated also may not take advantage of the benefit afforded to employees to work from home 25% of the time.
A number of employees found the policy to be enough of an incentive to get vaccinated, Murphy said.
“I think that is a measured approach; it’s successful for our organization,” he said.