(Headline USA) The Washington state Department of Transportation refused to accept help from one county in its efforts to clean up after a winter storm because it did not force its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Kittitas County said in a press release that their offered assistance in plowing the roads following a massive winter storm was denied by the state because of its position on vaccine mandates.
“Washington State informed Kittitas County they could not accept this assistance due to Kittitas County not mandating the COVID-19 vaccination for County employees. The Kittitas County Board of Commissioners is extremely disappointed with the States’ position to refuse assistance,” the statement reads.
Washington required all state-funded employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be fired in October. This mandate cost Kittitas County nearly 50 employees, said the county.
Officials did not want to exacerbate this worker shortage by passing down yet another heavy-handed mandate, Kittitas County Commissioner Cory Wright said.
“This county is ready, as always, to put all hands on deck to solve this problem,” he said in a statement.
“It’s time for logic and leadership to overcome ideology and allow skilled equipment operators working alone in their cabs to get this job done,” he said.
The Washington state Department of Transportation confirmed that they had, in fact, refused help from the county because of its workers’ vaccination statuses.
“On Tuesday Jan. 11, Kittitas County Public Works reached out about clearing State Route 903 near the small town of Ronald in unincorporated Kittitas County,” the department said.
“County crews informed WSDOT they could not meet the vaccination declaration required of all interlocal agreements and contracts with Washington state agencies,” the statement added.
WSDOT response to Kittitas County statement regarding winter operations. pic.twitter.com/jde657VFc3
— Washington State DOT (@wsdot) January 13, 2022