Vaccine mandate discussed at council meeting

TORRINGTON – The Torrington City Council discussed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) mandate regarding vaccines during the first meeting of January on Tuesday. 

The mandate, which initially required vaccinations for businesses with 100 or more employees, has recently reached the United States Supreme Court. 

City Attorney James Eddington said he has been following the case closely and stated not much has happened so far as orals were set to begin on Jan.7. 

City Clerk/Treasurer Lynette Strecker said as policy has been drafted and they conducted a confidential survey with 61 employees to gauge how many are already vaccinated and what their feelings are toward it. 

“There were 37 that received at least one COVID vaccination and 24 that have not had COVID vaccinations,” Strecker said. “Of the 37, 20 were not fully vaccinated… we asked if they were willing to get a booster vaccination, there were six undecided and 14 said yes.” 

Strecker also said three of the unvaccinated participants said they would vaccinate to avoid masking while the other 21 said they would not. 14 of which would mask and the other seven said they would resign. 

Six of the 14 would also resign if they had to be tested at their own expense of $180 or less per month. 

Seventeen of the 61 participants are fully vaccinated according to Strecker and 18 are willing to receive a booster. 

In terms of a decision from the Supreme Court, Eddington said they rarely rules from the bench. 

“I anticipate based on the old precedent we anticipate them upholding the mandate and so we’re planning for that to happen,” Eddington said.   

Mayor Randy Adams reminded the public the mandate comes from the federal level and was not created by the city for its employees. 

“This is a mandate that’s passed down to us. We are required to follow the guidelines,” Adams said. 

Councilman Rick Patterson acknowledged the opinions noted in the survey but said they have no choice if the mandate is put into effect. 

In other business, the council approved the mayor’s appointments and approved Adams to be the full-time mayor for the new year. 

The council also approved a cooperative agreement for the 2022 statewide airport crack seal project at the Torrington Airport, and a resolution to keep the same depositories for the city. 

During the mayor’s information items, Adams warned of the snowstorm which hit Torrington on Wednesday morning and said wind gusts up to 50 mph were expected throughout the week. Adams also said city staff were prepared for snow removal and reminded residents to keep their sidewalks clear. 

Adams gave an update on COVID cases in the county which have reached 2,700 after another 100 cases since the last meeting. There was one death related to COVID on Tuesday which brought the county’s death toll to 53. 

According to Adams, the sewer upgrade project has been completed and the alleys are open. 

Adams also mentioned the sewer treatment facility project bidding will take place on Jan. 12 and will begin this year. 

Adams concluded with an announcement of Torrington being named the second safest city in Wyoming according to SafeWise, a home security company. 

“That’s safer than 97 other Wyoming cities and towns,” Adams said. 

Torrington finished behind Worland for the safest city. 

Before adjourning, Torrington Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lance Petsch addressed the council during public comment to give an update on the new ladder truck. Petsch said they pointed out a few areas with chipped paint and other minor fixes with hope to get the truck on Friday weather permitting. 

According to Petsch, the fire department will go through training to drive and operate the truck from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 and have talked to the police department about closing off the street from the alley to West C Street on 21st Avenue to avoid any incidents. Once the training is over, Petsch plans to bring the truck to a city council meeting for the council and public to check it out. 

The next council meeting is Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.


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