City of Brunswick considering vaccine mandate for city employees

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — UPDATE 6:34 p.m.: Discussion on vaccine mandates for all city employees has been deferred to a meeting on Sept. 15.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Brunswick City Commissioners will discuss a vaccine mandate for all city employees at Wednesday night’s meeting.

The board, which includes four commissioners and the Mayor of Brunswick, will discuss giving its Human Resources Department the go-ahead for requiring vaccines, unless a “reasonable accommodation is approved.”

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That could be either a medical reason or a “sincerely held” religious belief, but the description does not expand. There are forms that city employees would need to fill out in order to opt out of the mandate.

Action News Jax, Meghan Moriarty, reached out to Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey, but did not hear back. Moriarty also emailed Commissioners Felicia Harris, John Cason and Julie Martin. She did not hear back.

A spokesperson with City Attorney Brian Corry’s office said he was unavailable.

Moriarty did get in touch with City Manager Regina McDuffie by phone. McDuffie said Wednesday’s meeting will be more of a discussion not a vote.

“We really need to take every precaution, especially with the police and firefighters,” McDuffie said on the phone.

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She also said there are roughly 210 city employees and there have been 25 occurrences of either people testing positive or needing to quarantine because of the virus, in the last five to six weeks.

While McDuffie does not vote, she said “we need to seriously consider” the vaccine mandate.

Moriarty was also able to speak to City Commissioner Vincent Williams. He is also running for mayor for the 2021 election.

“They don’t want to be forced to do something that they may not want to do,” Williams said, referring to city employees. “I’m fully vaccinated. I think there’s still an individual choice.”

This is a developing story.

To watch the meeting live, click here or visit the City of Brunswick Government Facebook page.

You can read the agenda here.