The previous 18 months have been tough for everybody in Fort Wayne, our nation, and the entire world. Nearly everybody has been impacted by COVID-19, each by the illness itself and by the results of presidency responses to the pandemic. As elected leaders of our group, we should fastidiously craft insurance policies that each promote public well being and defend people’ rights to make their very own well being decisions. Injecting partisan politics into this debate solely weakens the general public’s belief. For this reason parts of your announcement on September 2 had been so disappointing.
Final week, you introduced a brand new profit for metropolis staff within the type of direct money funds to staff who disclose their vaccination standing to town. This profit was not mentioned with Metropolis Council, the fiscal physique of our native authorities. No info was supplied about the price or funding supply of those advantages. Do you propose to hunt Council approval for this profit, or an appropriation of funding? If not, what funding do you propose to reallocate for this function?
Metropolis Council has not allotted any funds for worker bonuses. All through the pandemic, council and the mayor have labored collectively to create sound insurance policies to guard the well being and security of metropolis staff whereas nonetheless delivering the important providers of metropolis authorities to Fort Wayne residents. Reallocating funds which council authorised for an additional function undermines the collaborative relationship between the legislative and government department. As we start subsequent 12 months’s finances discussions, why set such a contentious tone?
In your announcement, you said that the intention of the coverage was to “encourage” the “mandating of COVID-19 vaccines.” State legislation explicitly prohibits native governments from mandating vaccines, but you’ve laid out a sequence of coverage proposals which search to encourage precisely what the state prohibits town from doing. Moreover, your announcement referred to unspecified additional incentives and a November 1 deadline. What are these extra incentives?
Throughout these tough instances, few points are extra polarizing than compelled vaccinations. By politicizing metropolis staff’ well being advantages, the reputable dialogue of worker vaccine bonuses is unimaginable, and the divisive “us versus them” mentality is bolstered. Moreover, the usage of public funds for a brand new worker profit, bypassing discussions with the fiscal physique or the taxpayers, is unnecessarily adversarial. Put collectively, your politicization of the pandemic erodes the general public belief and undermines the extra nuanced debate surrounding particular person liberties and public well being.
The general public does not need politics within the pandemic. Folks’s lives are at stake, and it’s our duty to work collectively. The general public deserves extra collaborative management from all of us.