Providence, RI – City Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7) announced an emergency meeting of the Providence City Council for Friday, January 14, at 5:30 p.m. to vote on an ordinance he sponsored, with a majority of the Council, that will lay out new procedures for mass terminations in the city.
It’s clear from health professionals that vaccines, mask-wearing, social distancing, and testing are all collectively effective against the COVID-19 virus. However, a vaccine mandate cannot come at the expense of public safety. The city administration has required all employees to show proof they have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by January 14 and a second by February 28 or face “separation” from city employment. As of today, nearly 80 Providence Police officers are not vaccinated.
“If a significant number of police officers are fired, lawlessness would take hold, disrupt City business, and put every resident of Providence at risk,” said President Igliozzi.
The City Council is prepared to vote on an ordinance requiring the Commissioner of Public Safety, the Director of Human Resources, or any other City official to provide a clear explanation for mass terminations and an appropriate staffing plan for the impacted department. The new law would detail the following:
• No more than 2% of Public Safety employees could be terminated without first submitting a staffing plan to the City Council for approval
• No more than 20% of employees of any City department with more than 30 full-time employees could be terminated without first submitting a staffing plan to the City Council for approval
• City Council would hold a public hearing within two weeks of receiving a written plan and be required to pass a resolution authorizing the proposed terminations
Continued Igliozzi: “Police officers and all City employees should get vaccinated to protect the health of their co-workers, the public, and themselves. Vaccines are proven to be safe and effective. The reality is, however, that we must strike a balance. Put simply, Providence cannot afford to lose nearly 80 police officers especially at a time when gun violence and other violent crime is on the rise in Providence. To ensure that we can maintain public safety in our city, the Council must and will take action to prevent any mass terminations.”