19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea was among 16 aldermen who sponsored an ordinance that would repeal Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers and require aldermen to approve any policy that puts city employees on no-pay status.
The ordinance was filed on Oct. 21 by 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares, 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano and 45th Ald. James Gardiner, and it was set to be introduced to the City Council on Oct. 25.
O’Shea did not return a message seeking comment, but he recently wrote a letter to Lightfoot urging her to repeal the mandate.
If the ordinance were to go into effect, it would be retroactive to Oct. 1 and amend the city’s municipal code.
“Our city workers have been working throughout this pandemic, and they deserve more than edicts; they deserve respect,” Tabares posted on social media. “The residents we represent deserve an open and transparent hearing to force the mayor to justify her actions and to demonstrate that she made all efforts to work collaboratively with the invested parties.
“I urge my colleagues to support this measure because whether you agree with vaccines or not, we need to be at the table because whatever the outcome, we will have to answer to the residents about how we were engaged in this process.”
Under city policy, the ordinance would be considered by a City Council committee, which reports back to the full City Council on recommended action; however, two-thirds of the 50-member City Council may also vote to allow immediate consideration of the ordinance.
If it does go through committee and back to the City Council, a vote may take place.
If it passes, the mayor may veto the ordinance, and to override the veto, two-thirds of the City Council must approve the override.
Lightfoot has mandated that city workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, although her policy has changed in recent weeks.
Employees originally had to be vaccinated by Oct. 15, but Lightfoot then said they had to submit their vaccination status by that date, with the deadline to be vaccinated extended to Dec. 31.
Employees who did not submit their status by Oct. 15 could be put on non-disciplinary, no-pay status.
And employees who are not vaccinated must undergo testing two days a week.
The Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge 7 (FOP) has pushed back strongly against the mandate, claiming Lightfoot is overextending her authority.
The FOP and the city have both sued each other in regard to the mandate.
According to reports, thousands of Chicago Police Department officers did not submit their vaccination status by Oct. 15.
Check back for updates on the mandate.