Starkville Board of Aldermen approve an employee vaccine policy

A 5-2 vote approved a policy to encourage city employees to get vaccinated.

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – The Starkville Board of Alderman approved a policy that urges city employees to get vaccinated with a 5-2 vote.

Alderman of Ward 7, Henry Vaughn, and Alderman of Ward 1, Ben Carver were the two to reject the policy. 

The policy gives the employees the opinion to be vaccinated or not. 

For those who choose not to be vaccinated, they will have to: 

  1. Wear a mask when dealing with the public or when social distance isn’t possible. 
  2. Pay a $75 insurance fee per month.
  3. Use their sick leave if they test positive and have to quarantine. 

Before the meeting, WCBI reached out to city employees who were against the policy. They refused to be interviewed on camera due to fear of repercussions. 

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said she believes the policy could help keep people safe.

“I’m bringing a policy forward that I think is appropriate for our community and our employees,” Mayor Spruill said.

A week after an initial push for requiring vaccination for all city employees from Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, the Board of Aldermen approved a policy that encouraged vaccinations, not forced.

“Some of the things that I have recommended are that those who are not vaccinated will be wearing masks. When they interact with anyone they will be wearing a mask, that they will provide proof of a negative COVID vaccination for example. They will not be authorized to take additional overtime beyond any normal overtime that comes with the job,” Mayor Spruill said.

Mayor Spruill said this vaccination policy would be similar to ones that already exist in most public offices.

“People have to get vaccinated for multiple things including some of our employees. If you go overseas you have to vaccinated from things, if you go to work you have to be vaccinated for some things. So I don’t see this any differently and this is a public health concern,” Mayor Spruill added.

After speaking with department heads, Mayor Spruill said she chose to address the issue with a lighter approach.

“It is a policy for strong recommendation and how we’re going to respond for those who do not. Initially, from a mandate of some kind, it has caused me to soften the approach and hope that over time that a mandate would be unnecessary that people would go ahead and get vaccinated. And if not, if things prove to go south on us dramatically, then we may have to reconsider what we’re going to do,” Mayor Spruill said.

Mayor Spruill added the policy could save taxpayer money from going to unnecessary overtime pay.

“We have spent over 200,000 dollars on overtime because we have had people who have had to go into quarantine people who’ve gone into the hospital so it doesn’t have a simple impact. It has a significant impact on our public dollars, on our public health care, and most importantly it has an impact on our citizenry,” Mayor Spruill said.

The Starkville City Attorney and Board of Alderman will be exploring how to enforce the policy soon.

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