City of Phoenix to Impose Vaccine Mandate

Employees of the City of Phoenix received a letter via email Thursday informing them they must be fully vaccinated, submit an exemption by January 18, 2022, or lose their job.

The decision wasn’t made by the city’s mayor, Kate Gallego, who’s been quiet on the subject, but by city manager Jeff Barton. City Council doesn’t have the authority to make this decision because Barton is the one who manages the employees. 

After reviewing Biden’s federal mandate, Barton made the decision. He concluded that the City of Phoenix is a federal contractor. As a federal contractor, the city is subject to Biden’s new mandate.

The letter said, “Due to the number of federal contracts held by the city of Phoenix, we are considered a federal contractor. As such, all city employees are subject to the provisions outlined in the executive order.”

The city said it might change the rules if the federal rules change. That is likely, considering the federal mandate is currently being challenged in court.

Religious and medical exemptions can be submitted by December 31 and will require review by staff from the Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Law departments.

Employees who don’t comply by the January deadline “will be contacted and subject to progressive discipline up to and including termination.”

Approximately half of Phoenix’s employees were vaccinated by October 19. Nearly 7,000 people received a $75 cash bonus for proving their full vaccination status.

The union for rank-and-file officers, Phoenix Law Enforcement Agency, is against the vaccine mandates.

President Britt London told the Arizona Republic, “We want our members to be able to have the right to do what they want with their bodies.”

He’s concerned officers will leave the city as a result of the mandate. He received at least 30 calls in that regard when the email went out Thursday. 

Though Governor Doug Doucey promised to keep Arizona mandate-free, he’s been quiet since Tucson imposed a similar mandate on its employees.

Last month, an ordinance was approved by the Tucson City Council that city employees who have not received at least one shot of the vaccine or have not received an approved exception or accommodation by December 1 will be subject to termination.

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