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Hundreds of Mecklenburg Co. employees remain suspended for not following county’s vaccination, testing protocols

Information from Mecklenburg County released Friday states almost 76% of the county’s 5,159 full-time employees have been vaccinated.
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 2:03 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – More than 350 Mecklenburg County employees remain suspended for not following the county’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing protocols as of Friday.

Approximately 356 county employees have been deemed non-compliant with the coronavirus policy and are subject to suspension.

The total is listed as 322 employees on the data county leaders received Friday afternoon, but according to a spokesperson for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, there are also 34 public library employees facing suspension. The data sent to county leaders does not include sheriff’s office or library department data because these departments have their own HR functions.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office says they do not have any employees facing suspension. In a statement, spokesperson Janet Parker tells WBTV:

“No MCSO employees have currently been suspended for non-compliance to COVID-19 testing. MCSO will conduct an internal investigation and decide whether disciplinary action will be taken.”

A spokesperson for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library says they have 34 employees facing suspension. In a statement, spokesperson Asha Ellison says:

“As of today, our Library employee vaccination rate is at 91%. Employee suspensions are neither indefinite nor do they have a fixed time limit. Suspensions last until an employee becomes compliant with the County policy.”

WBTV’s news partners at The Charlotte Observer confirmed that suspensions started Tuesday, with nearly 600 county employees found to be non-compliant with COVID-19 protocols.

Information from Mecklenburg County released Friday states almost 76% of the county’s 5,159 full-time employees have been vaccinated.

County officials answered employee questions during a town hall held Thursday.

“This is our first week,” county manager Dena Diorio said. “It is always a little bumpy when you do something new for the first time. We will readily admit we’ve hit some bumps along the way.”

The Department of Social Services, or DSS, has the most suspensions. As of Friday 69 total employees remain suspended, 66 of them are full time employees.

Parks and Recreation suspended 135 employees, but only 29 of them are full time.

WBTV asked the county whether suspensions will impact operations of these departments. A spokesperson said “no disruption of services” is expected for Parks and Recreation, because most of the suspensions are seasonal employees.

When it comes to DSS, the spokesperson said:

“Mecklenburg County DSS has hard-working employees who provide vital social services programs to our most vulnerable residents daily. DSS operations plans to continue as usual with the least disruption in service as possible until all of our staff return.”

One county employee who wanted to remain anonymous tells WBTV he got the vaccine, his supervisor submitted his vaccination card, but he was still notified that he was facing suspension.

“I know he submitted the card because he received a confirmation email from someone in HR who said they received it,” the employee told WBTV.

He says he was able to be reinstated and paid for the time he was suspended, but he hopes the county can work out these glitches.

“Collectively as a unit we need to come together,” he said. “HR and supervisors aren’t working together.”

County Commissioner Pat Cotham says she is proud of the efforts by county leaders, but she says communication could have been clearer before the requirements went into place.

“I know some employees had problems uploading their information or thought that their boss was going to do it or couldn’t find their card, but I think those kinks are getting worked out and we will eventually get truer numbers,” she said.

In the town hall, county leaders explained that partially or unvaccinated employees must submit COVID-19 PCR test results to HR every seven days. Those who don’t submit those test results by the end of the seven-day rolling deadline will be suspended without pay. Staff members who don’t submit results for two consecutive weeks will be dismissed.

Testing is covered by insurance or can be accessed for free at community events.

Another employee who works for DSS and wants to remain anonymous, tells WBTV the expectations were not explained to employees. She says she got both doses of the shot and submitted her vaccination card, but was suspended for not getting a negative Covid test. She was supposed to get tested because this deadline fell before two weeks after her second shot, when she would have been considered fully vaccinated.

If you are a county employee needing more information, click here.

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