Providence City Council to hold emergency meeting Friday to prevent ‘mass firing’ over vaccine mandate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- The Providence City Council will hold an emergency meeting on Friday evening to try and prevent a “mass firing” over the vaccine mandate for city workers.

City Council President John Igliozzi called for the meeting to try and establish new procedures within the city for mass termination.

The City Council is prepared to vote on an ordinance requiring the Commissioner of Public Safety, the Director of Human Resources, or any other City official to provide a clear explanation for mass terminations and an appropriate staffing plan for the impacted department. The new law would detail the following:

  • No more than 2% of Public Safety employees could be terminated without first submitting a staffing plan to the City Council for approval
  • No more than 20% of employees of any City department with more than 30 full-time employees could be terminated without first submitting a staffing plan to the City Council for approval
  • City Council would hold a public hearing within two weeks of receiving a written plan and be required to pass a resolution authorizing the proposed terminations

“Put simply, Providence cannot afford to lose nearly 80 police officers especially at a time when gun violence and other violent crime in on the rise in Providence. To ensure that we can maintain public safety in our city, the Council must and will take action to prevent any mass terminations,” Igliozzi said.

Mayor Elorza released a statement on the emergency meeting saying,

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best tool to ending this pandemic. All City employees, especially public safety personnel, interact frequently with the public. We have a responsibility to do all we can to keep one another safe.

As the Council President is aware – but choosing to ignore – every policy implemented by the City sets a process in motion. The vaccination requirement is no different. Just as when RIDOH required vaccinations for firefighters, we are working hand-in-hand with public safety officials to make medical experts available and set up vaccine clinics. Ultimately, 100% of Providence firefighters are now vaccinated, and only five firefighters chose to not receive their vaccine. We know this process can work. We are willing to work with those whose vaccine hesitation comes from a desire to know more, or have been unable to access a vaccine thus far, and we will continue to do so.

Regardless of the Council President’s misinformed stunt today, all city staff are still required to submit proof of vaccination by close of business on Friday. The City’s Human Resources Department will review all data submitted by staff next week. While we are willing to help educate employees who need additional information, every Providence employee will be required to get vaccinated. Our policy stands in place as we know it is in the best interest of our employees, their families and the residents we serve that everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated.

Additionally, I would like to acknowledge and thank union leaders who have been working in good faith with the City to ensure that their members receive information from medical experts on the vaccine. Along with the Dept. of Health, we have held information sessions for employees and we are also hosting vaccination clinics. Since announcing our vaccine policy, at least twenty-one Providence officers have already received their first dose of the vaccine and others have made appointments to receive it in the coming days. The vaccine policy is working. The Council President’s stunt undermines everyone’s efforts and virtually ensures that more people will refuse to take the vaccine.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island