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(Video Credit: FOX 11 Los Angeles)
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to strip Sheriff Alex Villanueva of his power to enforce vaccine mandates last week after refusing to force his officers and staff to get the jab because he feared they would leave their jobs over the issue.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the decision by the board came after Villanueva refused for months to enforce the suppressive mandate.
“No, I am not forcing anyone, the issue has become so politicized there are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated,” he said during a Facebook Live stream in October.
“I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 to 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate,” the sheriff contended.
LA Sheriff Villanueva says that he will not enforce a vaccine mandate, saying employees are willing to get fired over it. "I don't want to be in a position to lose 5, 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate." pic.twitter.com/9DNJTeJUoY
— Alene Tchekmedyian (@AleneTchek) October 7, 2021
The chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors issued an executive order in August that mandated all of the 110,000 people employed by Los Angeles County to be vaccinated by October 1 or risk being terminated.
“Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s Department is the only department in the county that’s refused to implement this policy,” board supervisor Janice Hahn remarked concerning the decision to strip Villanueva of his authority. “I think we were left with no other choice.”
The county will now handpick who will enforce the mandate.
The rule change will apply to all county departments and it allows the personnel director to give enforcement control back to department heads who are complying with the mandate. The county’s policy gives employees five opportunities to comply with the mandate before they would face termination.
Villanueva called the decision a way to remove thousands of unvaccinated people from his department.
This is nothing more than another politically motivated stunt by the Board, which has no bearing on public health, but will definitely harm public safety.
To view my full statement, please click on the link: https://t.co/ehY5TmWUsQ
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) February 9, 2022
“Today the Board of Supervisors followed through on their threat and voted 4-0 (1 abstention) to form a suicide pact and start the process to fire 4,000 deputies for not being vaccinated. Showing deliberate indifference to the obvious impact on public safety, the Board hid behind an alleged threat to public safety they couldn’t back up with data. Tellingly, the Board’s own County Counsel (Rodrigo Castro-Silva) couldn’t offer even a basic legal opinion on the legality of the Board’s motion, or the obvious legal challenges they will face,” Villanueva heatedly remarked in a statement last week.
“The Board, who ignored the comments made by thousands of their constituents today during their meeting, is now seeking to fire the very same personnel who were forced to work in person, exposing themselves to the COVID-19 virus when there was no vaccine, while the Supervisors and most of the workforce were telecommuting from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Supervisor Kuehl falsely asserted in her motion that LASD employees represented 74% of infected County employees, ignoring the simple fact most infections were during pre-vaccine availability,” he continued.
“This moral failure of leadership represents a curious backtracking of their position on the authority of the Human Resources Director to override the authority of the sheriff. At the beginning of my tenure they claimed I did not have the authority to hire and fire my workforce. Now they are claiming the opposite and need to remove that delegated authority from me!” the sheriff added.
“It is important to remember Department personnel who chose not to vaccinate are required to submit to weekly COVID testing, and have committed no administrative offense,” he remarked.
“This is nothing more than another politically motivated stunt by the board, which has no bearing on public health, but will definitely harm public safety,” Villanueva concluded.
As of Tuesday, it is being reported that 83 percent of all county employees are fully vaccinated against COVID, a county spokesperson stated.
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