No COVID vaccination, no promotion, Raleigh tells city workers

·2 min read

City of Raleigh employees seeking promotions will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a recent city memo.

The city’s 4,000 employees must be vaccinated by Friday or start weekly testing. If testing is refused, the employee will face “progressive discipline,” according to an email to employees sent in mid-August.

Now the city also plans to limit promotions to those who are vaccinated, according to a memo sent last week to the Raleigh Police Department.

“The decision requiring promoted employees to be vaccinated was recently made by city leadership and applies to the entire (city workforce),” said Sherry Hunter, the police department’s administrative services division commander.

The memo goes on to say police officers can still be promoted if not vaccinated until Dec. 31.

“Effective January 1, police employees must be fully vaccinated to be promoted,” the memo said. “Please note that an exception has been made for police and public safety since the promotional vaccination requirement for the rest of the city is effective as of September 17, 2021.”

The Dec. 31 deadline also applies to the Fire Department and the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center, said city spokesperson Julia Milstead.

The Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association, which represents about 250 of the city’s fire fighters, is “deeply concerned [about] the new requirement by the city of Raleigh to be vaccinated in order to promote.”

“An employee’s career should not be stifled by a personal medical choice,” according to a post on the association’s Facebook page.

The rules will be reviewed in six months, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said, adding the city manager and city attorney have looked at how other cities are handling promotions.

“I support our city manager and our efforts to ensure that city employees are vaccinated — especially our first responders who have close interaction with the public,” Baldwin said Wednesday. “We want our police and firefighters to be safe and the public to be protected.”

Wake County is also requiring its employees to be vaccinated by Wednesday or begin weekly testing next week.

Eighty percent of Wake County adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Wake County Commissioner Chair Matt Calabria said Wednesday.

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