The following was written by a police officer with 10 years of service to the City and the citizens of San Diego. SD Rostra is honoring the officer’s request for anonymity.
Mayor Todd Gloria and the San Diego City Council have enacted a dangerous vaccine mandate that puts the citizens of San Diego in jeopardy. The mandate will terminate about 500 San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers, 100 San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) firefighters, 20 911-Dispatchers and several hundred civilian employees including trash collectors, city maintenance workers, librarians, water plant engineers, and dozens of other categories of employees who make the City of San Diego function daily.
San Diego City Human Resources (HR) first pushed out a survey to all 11,000 City employees in late August which forced them to disclose their vaccination status. The survey stated failure to complete the survey could result in discipline up to and including termination. The survey also stated submission by employees would be confidential and records would only be maintained within HR. Approximately 150 SDPD officers refused to submit the survey noting it violates their medical rights. Of the 700 who did answer the survey, 333 officers stated they would rather be terminated than obey a City/Department order to receive the vaccine. And 479 officers stated they would consider leaving SDPD if the vaccinations become mandatory.
Shortly after the survey deadline, another email was sent forcing those who did not complete the first survey to complete an additional survey. Again, this survey stated failure to comply with the survey could result in discipline up to and including termination.
Following the deadline of the second survey, another email was sent to employees requiring those who submitted “unvaccinated status” to wear masks, with those submitting “vaccinated status” not having to wear a mask. Masks were required indoors, in the workplace and in city vehicles. Masks were not required for individuals with a private office. This is clear discrimination.
Shortly thereafter, SDPD supervisors were given access to the officers’ survey submissions. HR lied. SDPD supervisors were seen and heard across the Department harping on unvaccinated officers to put on their masks. Supervisors were seen with clipboards and notepads taking notes on who was not following orders. Some officers refused to mask up and were given discipline. Others complied out of fear of discipline.
The city sent another email to employees in September stating they must submit proof of vaccination by November 1 or face termination. This is when the real panic began with SDPD, SDFD, and non-sworn employees.
The city was forcing a deadline without allowing for religious or medical exemptions pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Federal Law allows for religious and medical exemptions in times of government mandates. It protects individuals under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to provide fair and equal employment rights. The city quickly realized its mistake and pushed the proof of vaccination deadline to December 1, 2021.
Currently, the city is expected to release templates for medical and religious exemptions on November 1. the city is expected to review each exemption on a case-by-case basis and then approve or deny the request.
SDPD and SDFD have retained several lawyers and firms that are assisting with the medical and religious exemptions. Should the city deny any exemptions, the attorneys will file lawsuits on behalf of the employees for Civil Rights violations.
The city is clearly not in its collective right mind. City leaders have not considered the fiscal impact of losing 1,000 employees. The average employee with 10 years of service has approximately $100,000 in their respective retirement accounts. These accounts are managed by the city like a bank manages a customer’s account. The money is played in the stock market in hopes of capital gains, with the city benefitting.
Imagine if one thousand employees take their retirements upon termination. Then image if those employees file class action lawsuits for Civil Rights violations and wrongful termination. Can the city really afford that financial burden? It would likely be in the hundred of millions of dollars.
At a time with increased homeless population, rising crime, including gun-related crime, gang-related crime, shootings, stabbings, and rampant drug use on the streets, the City of San Diego will be in ruins if a thousand employees are cut.
Losing 500 police officers, 100 firefighters and 20 911-Dispatchers will increase response time and cause very long delays when citizens call for help. Police will not have the staffing to respond to property crimes including burglaries, vehicle thefts, and trespassing.
San Diego is currently experiencing violent crimes in its tourist locations like the Gaslamp District, Balboa Park, Belmont Park and Petco Park. The city will likely raise taxes to offset the lack of tourism.
The city and the labor unions have been in ongoing negotiations, but they are not relaying updates to employees. We have been left in the dark with our futures unknown. We don’t know if the city will allow alternatives to the vaccine like Covid testing, or if this is an “all or nothing” move.
The City of San Diego needs your help. Call or write to Mayor Gloria’s office and demand he lift the vaccination mandate.
San Diego City Employees only have until December 1. Please call or write to Gloria today. Your safety and the safety of San Diego depend on it.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s contact information:
202 C Street, 11th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101