The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors said on Tuesday they making official moves to strip Sheriff Alex Villanueva of his authority to enforce Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The move comes after Villanueva publicly said he refuses to enforce the mandates and would not fire deputies who did not comply with the vaccine order.
The board requested a draft of the new enforcement policies be provided by March. Those policies will allow the personnel director to place enforcement responsibilities in the hands of someone who complies with the mandate.
The Hill reports:
“Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s Department is the only department in the county that’s refused to implement this policy,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, according to The Los Angeles Times. “I think we were left with no other choice.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the sheriff framed the decision as a push to fire 4,000 unvaccinated people from his department.
“This is nothing more than another politically motivated stunt by the Board, which has no bearing on public health, but will definitely harm public safety,” his statement said.
A county spokesperson told the Times that as of Tuesday 83 percent of Los Angeles county’s approximately 100,000 employees were fully vaccinated.
Villanueva has been a longtime critic of vaccination mandates and has said since October he does not intend to bend to the whim of Democrats and enforce the order.
“There are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated, so I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 percent, 10 percent of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate,” he said at the time.