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Ceres firefighters won’t be asked to help out at vaccination clinics
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A deadlocked Ceres City Council was unable to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency to supply fire staff to support vaccination clinics.

Councilwoman Linda Ryno had the item pulled to ask questions. She noted that the city would be reimbursed to cover costs but asked if backfill staffing would be required. Interim Ceres Fire Chief Mike Botto explained that no backfilling would be needed since the program would be voluntary for off-duty firefighters, if the city is asked. The volunteers would be paid at the overtime rate but the city will be reimbursed at the fully burdened rate, confirmed Finance Director Leticia Dias. That means the city would have been on the hook for to make up the difference.

Botto said the Ceres firefighters could have been asked to help out at vaccination clinics throughout the county, not necessarily in Ceres.

“I think the other thing that’s critically important to point out,” said City Manager Tom Westbrook, “is as more people are becoming vaccinated – this request took a while to get before the City Council – the demand for people to help at vaccination sites diminishes. So in all likelihood we may not send any personnel at all, even after this agreement is signed.”

Councilman Bret Silveira motioned to approve the agreement which was supported by Mayor Javier Lopez but opposed by Ryno and Vice Mayor Couper Condit.