Stanly commissioners pass resolution against mandatory vaccines by 6-1 vote

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners took a stand Monday night regarding the vaccine mandate recently issued by the government.

By a vote of 6-1, with Commissioner Peter Asciutto voting against the motion, commissioners passed a resolution rejecting mandatory vaccinations for its employees. The resolution also rejects “proposals for vaccine passports, health passes or similar policies/measure.”

The resolution is in response to President Joe Biden’s direction to the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration for an emergency temporary standard which requires companies with 100 or more employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing and wear masks starting Jan. 4, 2022.

According to County Manager Andy Lucas, several board members requested the resolution be drafted. He noted “neither OSHA nor the federal government provided funding to employers to offset the cost of implementing this mandate.”

Lucas said the resolution “speaks to individual freedom versus being forced into a mandate as an employer.” He added the ETS would affect the county and it would cause “issues from a standout point of logistics and cost.”

The county manager said the mandate “would be difficult for the county to put into place.”

New Board Chairman Tommy Jordan, who passed the gavel to new Vice Chairman Zach Almond with the stated interest of participating in the discussion, added to the resolution a phrase stating the board “upholds the U.S. Constitution” in the last paragraph.

Commissioner Mike Barbee moved to approve the resolution with two amendments, including an added a paragraph suggested during the public comments section urging N.C. Department of Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson “to reject implementation of the vaccine mandate should the courts rule in OSHA’s favor with an expectation of full support and any needed action by Republicans in the state legislature.”

Asciutto asked if the word “Republicans” could be omitted from the paragraph which he said “at least lessens the partisan issue behind this,” which Barbee added in the amendment.

He said his opposition to the resolution came in part from the county’s stated vision, which is to “cultivate and sustain a community environment where children and adults learn, family and businesses thrive and our residents are healthy and safe.” He also noted the county’s mission statement mentions “visionary leadership and professional staff work together to ensure overall public safety, protect and promote health and well being.”

Regarding the pandemic, Asciutto said “COVID is real. COVID is literally killing people in Stanly County. The county staff is against (the mandate) because of the inconvenience of paperwork is more important than promoting good health and preventing death.”

In closing, Asciutto said the resolution should be titled “Resolution In Support of Individual Freedom over Community Health and Preventing Community Deaths.”

Jordan said he fully supported of people getting vaccines and businesses getting employees to get them “if they feel that’s the way their business needs to do it. I’m just not fully in support of the government shoving it down their throat.”

Commissioner Bill Lawhon said vaccines “are a personal choice. I don’t think any (part of the) government — federal, state or local — has the right to mandate and require these types of issues.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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