(Natural News) A tax enforcer from Chesterfield County, Virginia has threatened to fire county government employees who refuse to receive a Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
Chesterfield County Commissioner of Revenue Jenefer Hughes has already issued notices of “corrective action” to unvaccinated employees. In her letter, dated June 7, she wrote:
“You have been placed on corrective action for your failure to get one of the three [Food and Drug Administration] approved COVID-19 vaccines, which are now freely available at the County’s Employee Medical Center, the [Virginia State University] vaccine center, various pharmacies and doctors’ offices. You have also not submitted an application for accommodation under the Americans [with] Disabilities Act, nor for other medical or religious accommodation.”
In the same letter, Hughes explained that she has made getting vaccinated against COVID-19 a requirement for continued “service in my office.”
“Part of our service is to keep our taxpayers and ourselves safe and healthy,” she wrote. She then continued the letter by lecturing the recipient about the level of “trust” that is instilled in local government officials and employees. Local government workers supposedly need to become models for county residents by getting vaccinated.
Hughes lectured her unvaccinated employees in the letter by telling them that the Chesterfield County Revenue Office is entrusted with the responsibility of “interpreting and applying” state and local tax codes “fairly and equitably.” County residents will supposedly only trust revenue office workers to base their decisions on “facts and evidence” if they get vaccinated.
During an interview on Thursday, June 10, Hughes said that she would not be able to live with herself if she somehow risked a taxpayer or an employee contracting the coronavirus and taking it to their families just by coming into the office.
Hughes said she notified her staff of her new policy verbally several months ago and in multiple emails dated April 22, May 10 and May 19. She added that she has received a lot of emails and calls complaining about her vaccine mandate, but she is not going to change her mind.
Hughes is granting exemptions and accommodations for people with medical, religious and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasons.
“We discussed ADA compliance, medical exemptions, any other medical exemptions, the religious exemption, which, I think that’s very important,” she said. “The accommodation we’ve agreed on is that they’ll remain masked and I’ll be reviewing that toward the end of July because, given my policy, by that time all staff in the office who can be vaccinated will be vaccinated.”
Revenue office employees have until June 30 to get vaccinated. If they do not get vaccinated or begin the process of becoming fully vaccinated by this time, Hughes said these people will be subject to disciplinary action “up to and including termination.”
“I’ll bend over backwards to help them get to a place where we can retain them,” claimed Hughes. “I don’t want to lose a single person.” She said terminating an employee will be her very last resort.
According to Hughes, as of Thursday, around 82 percent of the workers in the county revenue office have been fully vaccinated, are going through the process of getting vaccinated or have received an exemption. The remaining 18 percent of her staff are facing corrective actions.
Hughes receives criticism over vaccine mandate
Republican State Sen. Amanda Chase, whose district includes Chesterfield County, strongly criticized Hughes’ letter and her department’s vaccine mandate. She posted a picture of one of the letters the revenue office gave out to unvaccinated employees on her personal Facebook account. She encouraged her constituents to call the revenue office to let Hughes know how they feel about the policy.
“This has to stop! The Chesterfield Commissioner of Revenue is actually threatening people who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” wrote Chase.
Despite Chase’s protests, it does not look like Hughes’ policy will be going away soon.
The Chesterfield County Communications & Media Office said that neither the county administrator nor the county board of supervisors are in a position to order Hughes to change her policy. This is because, as the media office put it, Hughes is “a constitutional officer who was elected to her position.”
The media office urged anybody who believes Hughes’ vaccine mandate is discriminating against them or violating their civil rights to report to the Virginia Attorney General’s office to have the situation investigated.
Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, has adopted a similar non-interventionist approach.
“From the governor’s position, I’m not mandating anyone to get vaccinated,” he said during an interview with the local affiliate of mainstream media outlet CBS. Northam added that he has left the decision to mandate vaccines up to the employers.
“We have three effective and safe vaccines and the only way to get this pandemic in the rear-view mirror is for folks to get out there and get vaccinated,” he added.
It seems like the only way Hughes will be forced to relent on her vaccine mandate is if one of her constituents or employees sues her, or if enough people call up her office to criticize her for her mandate. (Related: Over 100 Houston Methodist Hospital employees sue over COVID vaccine “mandate.”)
Learn more about how local politicians like Hughes are forcing their employees to get the coronavirus vaccine by implementing vaccine mandates by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.