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Mayor James Smith wants to offer incentives to city workers to get vaccinated

James Brown
Rochester City Hall

Rochester Mayor James Smith is introducing legislation aimed at getting more city workers vaccinated against COVID-19.

Smith has introduced legislation calling for a one-time payment of $200 to any city worker who becomes vaccinated or gets a booster shot through next June.

And the proposal also says that if the city workers achieve a staff-wide vaccination rate of 75% or more by the end of January, all employees who have reported their vaccination status to the city administration will be entered into a drawing for 20 additional incentives of $500 each.

This program would be funded with $350,000 in federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act.

A city hall spokesman says that officials do not know how many city workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and they are hoping this incentive program will provide some additional data.

There is currently no requirement for city workers to get the vaccine.

Smith, who is mayor through the end of the year before Malik Evans takes over as mayor in January, says that the increased number of COVID-19 cases locally “is deeply troubling as we enter the holiday season,” and he says this incentive program will help protect the city workforce and also ensure the continued availability of vital services to the public.

In a statement released Wednesday, Smith says that he believes incentivizing immunization and booster “is preferable to enforcing mandates at this time.”

City Council will consider the legislation for the incentive program at its next meeting on December 14.