Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes asked for a legal opinion on mandating vaccinations for city employees.
Hayes said City Attorney John Meadows does not recommend the city taking any action. Meadows recommendation stated recent Tennessee law does not allow vaccine mandates from the city.
Hayes said at the end of the day, COVID if affecting the city’s health and operations.
“Livinston, Overton County is a hot spot for COVID,” Hayes said. “I’m just trying to do what it takes to keep our employees and the general public as safe as we can be and that’s why I asked for the opinion.”
Hayes said the estimate is that about 55 percent of city employees are vaccinated and roughly eight employees are out under COVID protocol. He said that Police Chief Greg Etheredge was not in attendance at Monday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting because he was working patrol while officers were quarantined.
“We have got employee spouses that are very, very sick,” Hayes said. “That’s where we are, we’ve got our latest that’s come today at our airport. The office is closed due to COVID protocol. It’s mostly affected our public safety, police and fire.”
Meadows was not in attendance and Hayes read the city attorney’s recommendation, based on consultations with MTAS and research. Hayes said that MTAS recommended to Meadows a time when this topic should be revisited.
“If an OSHA rule is subsequently adopted on this matter,” Hayes said. “They indicate the city should revisit the issue and consider the possibility of whether any potential OSHA fines would exceed potential judgments for the potential discrimination case that would be filed to challenge the mandate.”
Meadows recommendation stated that based on Tennessee Law effective May 25, 2021, that a governor’s executive order, state agency or department shall not enforce or adopt or promulgate an ordinance or resolution that requires immunization, vaccination or injection for SARS COVID. Meadows recommendation also stated that local governments are prohibited from requiring vaccination proof to enter a building.