NORRISTOWN, Pa. – Montgomery County announced on Wednesday that it will be instituting a policy requiring all county and court employees, regardless of work location, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, Oct. 18.
The county issued the mandate due to the delta variant and high community transmission of COVID-19, according to an email from Director of Communications Kelly Cofrancisco.
"We want our employees to have confidence that they can safely work and serve their fellow Montco residents," Cofrancisco's email stated. "Our intention is [to] support the health and safety of our entire team and our community."
Employees who do not receive the vaccines will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Not everyone was on board with the directive, though.
Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale issued a strong reaction about the decision, saying in part, "The tyrannical decision of the Democrat Montgomery County Commissioners to mandate that all county and court employees get the Covid-19 vaccination or be tested weekly is outrageously un-American."
The other two commissioners in Montgomery County are Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, who is the chair, and Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr.
County and court employees who are fully vaccinated and upload proof via a HIPAA-compliant mobile app provided by ADP will receive a $150 incentive following verification, as stated in Cofrancisco's communication.
Gale, who claimed in his statement that the Democrat-majority commissioners often make major personnel decisions without his input or knowledge, said the "taxpayer-funded 'carrot' for so-called good behavior is morally unacceptable and fiscally irresponsible."
Cofrancisco's email said of the vaccine requirement, "We understand that this is a difficult decision for some, but please know this policy was put in place after lengthy discussion and consideration."
The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners will next meet on Sept. 23 at 10 a.m.