M.L. City Council approves to make accommodations for firefighters laid off due to vaccine mandate
- Moses Lake, WA
The Moses Lake City Council has just voted 4-3 to pass a motion to find accommodations for three of the four firefighters who were laid off for not complying with Washington State’s COVID-19 state and local government vaccine mandate.
During tonight's council meeting, many arguments were flared from residents of M.L. and the council members, and the city manager. At tonight's council meeting, council member Dean Hankins expressed his thoughts for not finding accommodations for the three firefighters and said,
“as long as those who don't have the vaccine do not have any patient contact, I'm ok with them fighting fires.”
Councilmember Hankins expressed his decision to vote no for finding accommodations Giving his experience in medicine and close contact with a fire or ems personnel could jeopardize the patient’s health on their way to get treated.
According to a press release, the four firefighters were initially accommodated. The city of Moses Lake then decided not to accommodate the four firefighters after closely reviewing the close proximity at the local firehouses and jeopardizing patient care. The city also stated in a press release that not following the state’s mandate and a claim is filed; no coverage will be given. “Our insurer counseled the City that if we were to act against the mandates and put an unvaccinated employee in a situation where we received a claim, then there is no coverage. We are a city that needs every penny of our reserve funds to bolster up the infrastructure of our community, not in fighting lawsuits.”
“We are a municipality that is subject to state and federal laws that have been delivered regarding vaccine mandates. We have been working diligently with the International Association of Firefighters through the process of compliance,” City Manager Allison Williams said. “In the end, we will have two firefighter/EMTs leave the City’s employment and one Captain. The decision has been difficult and we greatly appreciate the years of service the employees provided to the City. Firefighters have had an extremely difficult job during COVID providing care to the City’s most vulnerable. We truly wish the situation was different. The City is also a recipient of various federal funding sources, so the federal mandate is being evaluated as well”
We have a reporter at tonight’s council meeting and will provide more updates when it becomes available.