County Board of Supervisors extends COVID-19 leave policy for county employees

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors extended a policy adopted in 2021 granting county employees an additional 10 days of sick leave if they contract COVID-19, granting employees an additional 10 days in 2022.

District four representative Chad McLarty proposed requiring employees to be vaccinated in order to take advantage of the policy, but the idea was quickly struck down by other board members.

“I personally am in favor of requiring a vaccination if we’re going to continue to give out this kind of time for COVID leave,” McLarty said. “I know the city [of Oxford] is doing it that way, I’m sure several other places are doing it that way.”

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“I don’t think we should be requiring all our employees to get a vaccination, I think it’s more of a personal choice,” said district three representative David Rikard.

McLarty was quick to point out that he was not in favor of mandating vaccines for employees.

“Let me correct myself if I misspoke. I’m not trying to mandate, I’m not forcing anybody to get the vaccination if they don’t want it. I’m just saying that they would not receive the 10 extra days of leave if they have not been vaccinated,” McLarty said. “I just think it gives a little incentive going forward just to get vaccinated. I got mine and I didn’t grow a tail or anything like that yet.”

Other members did not share McLarty’s desire to incentivize vaccination.

“You’re penalizing somebody for making a choice,” said district two representative Larry Gillespie.

District one representative Brent Larson joked that his input was not necessary when asked for his opinion on the matter.

“It doesn’t matter what I think at this point,” Larson said.

After further deliberation the policy was passed without the vaccine requirement.