Flint, MI– On Jan. 13, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a federal vaccine-or-test mandate which would have impacted employers across the country with 100 or more employees– including the city of Flint.

The city had prepared a resolution for the Flint City Council to approve a vaccine mandate for city employees, but following the recent court decision, that resolution is being reworked. 

“We are now looking at a more soft rollout of a program to get employees to participate,” the city’s Director of Communications Melissa Brown told Flint Beat on Jan. 18.

Flint’s original proposed vaccine mandate would have required all employees who work in city facilities to be fully vaccinated, with proper documentation, by Jan. 24. 

Employees who chose to remain unvaccinated would have needed to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis, starting on Feb. 9. Unvaccinated employees would have also been required to wear face masks when around coworkers, or “when in a city vehicle with other individuals.” 

The proposed resolution detailed compensation for employees including up to four hours of pay per dose of the vaccine, and up to two days of sick leave following each dose for those experiencing side effects. 

It also stated that employees who did not comply with the policy would “face disciplinary action up to and including termination.”

Brown said that as of Jan. 18, there have been 29 reported cases from City Hall employees this month.

During a council meeting on Jan. 5, Director of Human Resources Eddie Smith and City Administrator Clyde Edwards both said the biggest challenge the administration was facing with COVID-19 was a lack of cooperation among employees.

“People don’t want to adhere to the rules. The rules are there, and that’s what we run into,” Edwards said at that meeting. “I don’t think any amount of closure, any amount of activity that discontinues City Hall operations is going to effectively change those behaviors.”

The resolution to approve the proposed vaccine mandate was set to come before the city council on Jan. 19, in their Governmental Operations committee meeting. A new resolution for the softer roll out of a program has not been released.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...