Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday he won't enforce the Los Angeles City Council's vaccine mandate on his employees, saying the issue has become "politicized" and threatens to eat away further at his already depleted workforce.
In a video posted to Twitter by Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, Villanueva says many of his employees are willing to lose their jobs rather than submit to the mandate.
"I'm not forcing anyone," Villanueva said. "The issue has become so politicized. There are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated."
"I don't want to be in a position to lose 5%, 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate," he said, adding that he is already having trouble running his department because of "defund the police" efforts.
"It's like the worst of two worlds right here," he said. "So we have to pick and choose."
The City Council on Wednesday passed one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the country, requiring residents to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to enter many public facilities. The mandate goes into effect on Nov. 4.
The sheriff has not said whether he is vaccinated, but has encouraged others to get vaccinated, the Washington Examiner reported.
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