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Council not open to excusing city employees from vaccine mandates
New Ceres City Council with Casey
The Ceres City Council met on Monday, Sept. 27 as a complete body with James Casey now seated (at left). The rest of the council is composed of Councilwoman Linda Ryno, Mayor Javier Lopez, Councilman Bret Silveira and Vice Mayor Couper Condit.

Vice Mayor Couper Condit’s request to have the Ceres City Council discuss excusing city employees from the mandatory COVID vaccinations was shot down Monday.

Only Condit and Mayor Javier Lopez favored excusing city employees from getting the jab.

“The federal mandate came out – I don’t want city employees to get vaccinated if they don’t wish, so that’s why I referred this,” said Condit.

Newly installed Councilman James Casey disagreed, stating, “even though we’re a public entity, we still have to follow the guidelines of Cal/OSHA to protect ourselves and if Cal/OSHA has guidelines for people that aren’t vaccinated, I think we need to follow that. It’s not really a personal choice. We’re mandated to protect everyone.”

Ryno and Silveira agreed.

Sensing the issue was doomed for discussion, Mayor Javier Lopez said “I will always continue to support anybody who wants to get vaccinated but I will never support a mandate, regardless if it’s the federal government putting this on us.” 

Earlier this month President Biden mandated that all employers with more than 100 workers require their employees to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. Another 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be vaccinated, as will all employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government. The action has prompted lawsuits. A group of Los Angeles Police Department employees have filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the city’s COVID vaccine mandate. After the city required vaccinations for city employees, a Los Angeles Fire captain’s tirade calling the vaccination requirement “tyranny” was posted on the Telegram app and shared on Twitter. The captain claimed that there were hundreds of firefighters who want to fight the requirement.