County Commission Chair stands by employee vaccination mandate despite threat of fines

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:54 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Monday that his administration would fine cities and counties that require the COVID-19 vaccine for employees, with a fine of $5,000 per employee.

Leon County is one of the municipalities requiring the vaccine; County Administrator Vince Long announced the mandate in July.

The County has about 1,000 employees; if it’s hit with fines, it could be charged to pay five million dollars.

Despite that possibility, County Commission Chair Rick Minor says he stands by Long’s decision.

Minor says Leon County disagrees with the governor’s interpretation of the law on the topic.

“We’re not doing this to try to defy the governor, to play politics. We’re doing this for two reasons. Number one, we want to protect the lives and the health of the employees and the public. And number two, we need to maintain operation readiness of this government and service the people of Leon County,” Commissioner Minor said.

Elsewhere in Florida, Orange County and the City of Gainesville have employee vaccination mandates.

At the Commission’s special meeting on September 7, Long told Commissioners the County is at almost 100% compliance with the mandate, with only about 30 requests for exemptions.

“I, for one, support the requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations for County employees,” Minor said. “I think you saw at a previous meeting that virtually the rest of the Commission does too. My guess would be that the Commission still supports that in light of this new development.”

Long’s statement in response to the governor’s announcement can be found here.

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