CHARLOTTE (WJZY) — Mecklenburg County officials said employees had a month to show verification of their vaccination status, either by providing proof of vaccination or if unvaccinated, weekly proof of a test.
That month has passed, and those who did not provide that information were, and in some cases still are, suspended with pay.
“They had ample opportunity to reach out, ask questions and not wait until the last minute before they responded,” said Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio, who defended her stance at Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioner’s meeting.
“Employees that are in this situation put themselves there,” said Diorio.
At one point, hundreds of county employees were facing suspension, but that number is down to 86, mainly part-time workers in the county’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The Mecklenburg County Republican Party, though, said the numbers should not matter here.
“I think this ranges more than just Conservative, Democrat, or anything like that. I think it’s individual choice for people,” said Sarah Reidy-Jones, chair of the Mecklenburg GOP, who has been actively reaching out to suspended county employees.
“I think anytime you’re telling people what to do, it’s political,” Reidy-Jones said.
The Mecklenburg County Democratic Party blasted their counterpart’s efforts, noting their reaching out involves something completely different.
“We are participating in statewide phone banks to contact folks who may be vaccine-hesitant,” said Jane Whitley, chair of the Mecklenburg Democrats.
Ultimately, that discussion is outside the walls and purview of the county commission.
County officials admitted to a bumpy rollout of vaccine verification measures but noted that those who still haven’t responded could soon be out of a job.
“There are people who have not responded, who have not submitted anything, not submitted a vaccination card, have not submitted any information at all. Nothing. They’ve been silent,” said Diorio. “Those people are in trouble.”