City Council’s special meeting on vaccine mandate fails to attract a quorum
Mayor Lori Lightfoot had made it clear before leaving town for Florida that she would instruct her allies to stay away from the special meeting, arguing that voters are “sick and tired of gamesmanship ... political charades and stunts.”
A special City Council meeting called to consider a vaccine policy “inclusive of natural immunity” lasted less than three minutes on Wednesday after attendance fell nine votes short of a quorum.
Before leaving town for a fundraising trip to Miami, Mayor Lori Lightfoot made it clear that she would instruct her allies to stay away from the special meeting, arguing that voters are “sick and tired of gamesmanship” and “political charades and stunts.”
She accused the 11 members who called the meeting at the behest of the Fraternal Order of Police of “fear mongering” by spreading false reports that thousands of police officers defying Sunday’s first-shot deadline would be fired amidst a crime wave.
“I wish that those aldermen, who clearly feel like they’ve got some political pressure, that they would use their office and the power of their voice to encourage first-responders and particularly police officers to get vaccinated,” the mayor said.
Ald. Nick Sposato (38th) said he joined the call for the special meeting reluctantly, knowing it would accomplish nothing and cause hard feelings.
“It’s hard to drop something on people and just say on Monday, we’re gonna have a meeting on Wednesday. We all have busy schedules. I just think we probably pissed a lot of people off, to tell you the truth,” Sposato said Wednesday.
“We made some mistakes with this. I didn’t want this meeting to be this fast. I begged them to say, ‘Let’s just cool our jets. Let me try to resolve this.’ But, they were in a big hurry to say, ‘Let’s have this meeting on Wednesday.’”
The aborted meeting “doesn’t do any good at all,” which makes him “a little bit sad,” Sposato acknowledged.
“Everybody had the opportunity to comply. Everybody could get either a religious or medical exemption. All they have to do is apply. I’m not trying to defend those people. But they’re gonna be put on no-pay status for one month, no-pay, no insurance for the second month, then go to the Police Board for a [final determination,” he said.
“I’d like to get this out in the open. We need to know where exactly we stand. My real concern about this is, they are putting exempt ranks in a bad position to strip these officers. … If Officer John Smith is not complying, he’s gonna be stripped by one of his commanders, one of his chiefs … and word will get out there. It’s a recipe for disaster.”
For Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), it’s “back to the drawing board” to find “different ways to make sure we don’t lose one city worker.”
He added: “A good handful of us that care about this have proven over the last two years that we’re just gonna keep fighting.”