First published in the Jan. 29, 2022, print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The city of Burbank began enforcing its vaccination mandate this week, though a representative said the vast majority of employees have already complied with the policy.
Simone McFarland, a city spokeswoman and assistant director of community development, said in an email that 10 workers had neither provided proof of vaccination against COVID-19 nor submitted a valid exemption request as of Thursday. Another 27 employees were on leave and will be asked to comply with the vaccination mandate upon their return.
The city’s vaccination mandate went into effect at the end of last week, but workers had a weeklong grace period to comply. Those who don’t will receive a written reprimand, McFarland explained, with discipline escalating first to a one-day suspension without pay, then a five-day suspension without pay. After that, employees who remain out of compliance will face termination.
Each of the enforcement steps will be followed by a one-week grace period, McFarland said, adding that implementing each step could take a bit of time depending on staffing demands.
As of Thursday, three employees from both the Burbank Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Department remained noncompliant, as well as one employee each from Burbank Water and Power, the Community Development Department, the Finance Department and the Public Works Department.
On Thursday, Jan. 20, 49 Burbank employees who were not on leave were out of compliance. McFarland said she was not aware of any workers who had quit in response to the vaccination mandate.
The city of Burbank employs 1,347 people, McFarland said.
The Burbank City Council approved the vaccination mandate on a 3-2 vote in October, despite opposition from the municipality’s labor unions. Supporters of the policy insisted it would help protect city employees — and members of the public who interact with them — from COVID-19.
Representatives of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 18, which represents some BWP employees, and the Burbank City Employees Association did not immediately respond to request for comment. Michael Carson, president of the Burbank Management Association’s board of directors, declined to comment.
Cameron Mencuri, president of the Burbank Police Officer’s Association, said in a statement that the union has encouraged its members to comply with the mandate.
“We hope the city’s policy will help us return to normalcy in our day to day lives,” Mencuri added.
Most Burbank residents are fully vaccinated. As of this week, at least 83.2% of residents ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while at least 76.4% have been fully vaccinated. Additionally, at least 42.1% of residents ages 12 and older have received a booster shot.