By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
The Mill Creek City Council voted 6-1 to reject a proposed resolution banning vaccine mandates at their regular September 28, 2021, meeting.
During the public comment period of the meeting Mill Creek resident Sean Paddock said he was disappointed that the proposed anti-vax resolution had been brought forward.
He commented, “The resolution appears to be designed specifically to introduce rhetoric and division into these council proceedings… I respectfully ask the entire council including the resolution sponsor to say no to rancor and division, retract this unnecessary resolution, and stay the course of civility and to continue to maintain focus on the important problem solving work of the council and on the kitchen table concerns of our community.”
Councilmember Vince Cavaleri was the resolution's sponsor and unsuccessfully argued that banning vaccine mandates for city employees, volunteers, and guests would prevent a form of segregation, forcefully separating vaccinated people from unvaccinated people.
He also argued that the resolution would improve workplace safety by saying, “Every employee has the right to come to work and feel safe. Every employee has to right to come to a job with the certainty that whether he has a job or not is not dependent on who his boss is or bosses are.”
He went on to say, “First this is not about the merits of the Covid vaccine or vaccines in general. The resolution is not about whether the vaccine is good or bad, right or wrong, or whether you should or shouldn’t. It is a personal choice. This is about protecting those in the workplace who are asking to be protected.”
When asked by Councilmember Benjamin Briles if the resolution would open the city to litigation, City Attorney Grant Degginger told the city council, “The resolution is not without legal risk… There could be federal and state mandates that might apply to us.”
He said if the city receives requirements from the governor or from the county health department in the future, the city’s current vaccine policy might be affected and passing this resolution may have legal risks for the city.
Degginger want on to say the city’s current policy is that Covid-19 vaccinations are not required as a condition of employment, but they are encouraged.
Mayor Brian Holtzclaw said he doesn’t agree with Cavaleri, but that it is his right to bring this forward.
He said, “This is a solution looking for a problem because there is no requirement right now for employees and there is no plan for one absent the state mandating a requirement to be vaccinated.”
When the resolution came up for a vote it was defeated 6-1 with Cavaleri as the only “aye” vote.