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Tuscaloosa City Council passes Heroes Bonus, employee vaccination incentive payments stall

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:03 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa city council approved a plan for a Heroes Bonus for all employees, with those working in close contact with the public getting even more money.

Heroes Bonus should go out to employees in October. Police, fire fighters and workers in environmental services responsible for garbage collection will get $2,500. All other city workers will $1,500.

There was not much support for an incentive plan that would have paid city workers to get a free coronavirus vaccination shot.

“Any council person could bring it back for a full vote. But it was crickets. I was surprised,” City Council President Kip Tyner explained.

Tyney said he expected more debate on Mayor Walt Maddox’s proposal to offer each employee who got vaccinated for coronavirus $250, using from the American Rescue Plan. The plan failed to advance out of the Finance Committee Tuesday after no motion was made to advance it to the full city council for a vote.

“It appears that there’s just not the support from the majority of the council,” Tyner told WBRC.

Tyner said he and other council members heard from constituents who were against paying employees to get vaccinated. City Councilors were recently given information that said around 62% of Tuscaloosa city workers still had not been vaccinated for coronavirus.

Currently city workers were given extra time they could take off if they were exposed to someone with coronavirus or if they tested positive themselves. Now that could be ending too.

“What we’ve had now is COVID days. You can take days and doesn’t go against available time or go against your vacation days. But soon it will and I think when maybe it does happen, I think maybe people will probably get the vaccine,” Tyner continued.

No timetable is set for that. Tyner expects the Mayor will bring it up for discussion.

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