In a move already proving to be unpopular on social media, after a confidential session during their Jan. 10, 2022, meeting, Town of Castor council has decided to push ahead with its controversial vaccine policy.
Changes to the policy made at the meeting include removing the ability for employees to have the option of rapid testing.
The policy was originally intended to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2022, however that was later delayed to Jan. 29, then delayed again to a finalized effevtive date of Feb. 10, 2022.
“We’re sticking with our guns,” said Mayor Richard Elhard, in a subsequent interview.
According to Elhard, the reason for the policy is for the protection of staff and the community.
The policy was developed on the recommendation of the Federation of Gas, of which the Town of Castor is a member.
Because public works employees enter resident homes frequently and administration staff regularly deal with the public, council felt it prudent to introduce the policy to mitigate risk.
“We’re responsible for water and gas in town,” said Elhard.
“(The policy) wasn’t to step on people’s toes.”
With around 930 residents in the community, council felt that the risk of an outbreak shutting down the town without a policy in place was too great.
“We’re responsible for a lot of people here,” said Elhard
When asked about fear of potential legal action regarding the dismissal of staff affected by the policy, chief administrative officer Christopher Robblee said that the town had received legal advice and would not be at risk of lawsuit.
He further noted that any staff members affected by the policy have had in excess of 90 days from the time of the policy introduction to its effective date to either become compliant or seek other employment.
The issue was highlighted recently when social media posts began popping up after the announcement was made by administration that the policy was proceeding, and then again after a job advertisement for the town appeared on social media began receiving several negative comments related to the policy as well.
Robblee notes that the advertisement in question had nothing to do with the policy, but was to replace a staff member retiring within several weeks.
As for the policy, Elhard notes that it was not a decision council had “taken lightly.”
As of press time, it is unknown how many Town of Castor employees, if any, will be affected by the policy.