Friday, December 18, 2020

NorCo to Offer $750 Covid-19 Vaccine Incentive to Gracedale Workers

At their December 17 meeting, Northampton County Council voted 7-0 to offer a $750 Covid-19 vaccine incentive of $750 to Gracedale workers. Administrator Jennifer Stewart-King told Council this could cost as much as $490,000, but will be paid out of CARES Act money specifically set aside for "infection control" at the nursing home. 

In addition to this incentive, some Gracedale workers will continue to receive hazard pay until December 31.  Currently, two residents are infected. more infections than at any other time in the pandemic. 

This incentive only exists at Gracedale.  "We don't have the money to incentivize anyone else," explained Executive Lamont McClure 

Council member Kerry Myers was absent and Council President Ron Heckman left the meeting before the vote. 


51 comments:

Kyle said...

I understand the needs of gracdale but there are other departments in the county that also need attention. Im the president of our union at the jail. I've had over 10% of our COs become positive w/ covid in the last month and is rising everyday. The info given to the public in the last 2 news articles have been false and downplayed. We have a grievance filed for hazard pay and now I understand why it was never put in front of council. Im not permitted to disclose info on the jail/inmates but I can say the positive covid #s are high. The Cos continue to do their job,showing up during snowstorms and a pandemic despite having no hazard pay or signs of our contract being extended next yr. I can say with all that, our Cos are still doing a great job even w/ the above above issues. I just hope our executive could show some form of appreciation.

Kyle said...

Also I've never seen a $55k machine using ultra violet rays in the jail.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that some of the Tuskegee Airmen were paid?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Kyle, Am happy to see you commenting here and under your own name. I am sorry to hear that there is still Covid-19 at the jail. My comments relate to the courthouse. The funding for hazard pay at Gracedale as well as the $750 vaccine incentive comes from a separate pot of CARES Act $ specifically for infection control at Gracedale. The funding at the jail for hazard pay comes out of the general fund. I still think you should get it. McClure was paying it when he had emergency powers. Council did have the opportunity to award it to you when McClure surrendered them. They were made aware he would stop the payments. They let things go, but at that time, Covid was waning. Perhaps this should be revisited.

Now, as for the robot, you'll see it soon. People are getting trained on it.


Anonymous said...

Truth is McClure doesn't care about anywhere else in the county but Gracedale. He feels its going to get him re elected.

Anonymous said...

Save the money and just make them get it or they are out of a job.

Anonymous said...

So there's a world-wide pandemic that has caused a large number of hospitalizations and deaths, and the county is PAYING its most exposed employees to get the vaccine?

This is why people hate government.

Is there a large group of workers that are not willing to get the vaccine? Couldn't the state or county mandate the vaccine as a condition of employment at all nursing homes (similar to the way healthcare workers have to get flu shots), making the payment unnecessary? What kind of employee, if they have real reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated, are going to give up their ethical objections for a mere $750?

Why don't we call this what it is - another taxpayer shakedown by government workers and the politicians looking to buy their votes?

Bernie O'Hare said...

An employer has no authority to force employees to take a vaccine approved for emergency use.

Anonymous said...

Also, I find it an appalling lack of communication from the Administration that the president of the union at the jail is getting his information from news articles and bottom-feeding bloggers.

A competent administration would keep their employees (and their representatives) informed.

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said...

"An employer has no authority to force employees to take a vaccine approved for emergency use."


You would think that if a governor has the authority to arbitrarily close businesses without providing any data supporting that decision, he might want to also try to make getting the shot mandatory for those in close contact with the most vulnerable to the virus.

If he truly cared about "saving lives".

Anonymous said...

Even if employees can't be forced to take the vaccine, why pay those who would do it anyway?

Why not see who's willing to get it and then deal with the stragglers differently.

They're being bumped to the front of the line for the opportunity to take a vaccine that most of the general population (and the residents they serve), will jump at taking.

If they don't want it, don't think they need it, or don't want to protect members of their own family by taking the vaccine, find someone who does. I don't think you'll have trouble finding takers.

This is a waste of money that could be used for other measures, and an example of the misplaced priorities that have Gracedale among the hardest hit nursing homes (in terms of cases and deaths) in the state.

Anonymous said...

The jail is an entity unto itself. Council has a do not touch or look order in place. Been that way for decades. Those issues are the courts to decide and if they..the judges..do not act or ask..nothing will happen to alleviate issues inside the prison. It is a world unto itself and they want it that way. Do not look behind the curtains..you may not like what you find there.

Anonymous said...

How about the other essential workers at the county Monty ? You know, the others that didn't shutdown as well and never received "ANY" help from the state or you? Typical pick and choose democrat.

Anonymous said...

As an "old" person who will probably have an early opportunity to get the vaccine but who can pretty much pick and choose where I go and when I go there, I was inclined to wait so that the people who "really need" the vaccine can get it. But since they have to be bribed...er...incented to get it, I might as take the shot as soon as available, since it doesn't look like they "really need" it.

Or perhaps they don't "believe in the science."

Anonymous said...

You cannot force people to take the shot unless you are in the military. Its in their contract.

Anonymous said...

Old and white = You'll be waiting for a while. Watch the CDC.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is untrue. I am 69 and will be in the top 8% of those offered the vaccine. I will post a link later. Stop lying

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:50, you should get the vaccine when able

Anonymous said...

Hey what happened to no-one will be payed to take the vaccine? You of course have all the excuses in the world for your guy McClure. What a sweetheart deal with McClure and the big union bosses. If you are Afraid of the vaccine somehow getting a $750 sweetheart deal makes you less afraid? Aloo how did they get to $750. Why not $300? why not $1000? This is BS. You know it but still blame others or claim it is special money. It is all taxpayer money and it could have been used for useful things related to the virus not a union payoff. This is what happens when you pack government with union elected officials.

People are dying, people are begging for vaccines and the county is paying people lucky enough to be at the head of the line extra money to get the shot. Pure greed and extortion. McClure bought some votes. Time for private ownership of Gracedale and this bs will stop. No one else is paid incentives to take a free life saving vaccine. This is a slap in the face to private facilities and workers.

Even Zirinski explained it on Facebook!

Tell us all how great your pal is again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um Zrinski voted for it. I have no issue with incentivizing Gracedale workers to take a vaccine that will save the lives of residents. You apparently would rather see them die

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hey what happened to no-one will be payed to take the vaccine? You of course have all the excuses in the world for your guy McClure. What a sweetheart deal with McClure and the big union bosse"

First, it is paid, not payed.

Second, this has nothing to do with unions and everything to do with the fact that the only entity that has the funds for this is Gracedale.

Third, I was unaware of this incentive until I watched the meeting. Unlike you, I don't work for Council. Unlike you, I will still be watching after you are gone.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Having staff that is vaccinated is “resident needed.” They can say no and many of you winguts will do just that while refusing to wear a mask.

Anonymous said...

"You cannot force people to take the shot unless you are in the military. Its in their contract."

This is untrue. The supreme court ruled in Jacobson v. Massachusetts that compulsory vaccination falls under the states' police powers since the purpose is to prevent you from putting others at risk.

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/on-this-day-the-supreme-court-rules-on-vaccines-and-public-health

Anonymous said...

The fact that you will cover for this man and the bogus for the residents claim is sad and shameful. A union payoff pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

Another waste of taxpayers money. Oh, but wait. It isn't county money, so who cares? Free cash from Uncle Sam. Norco council members are a bunch of bozos. No concept of fiscal responsibility.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:14, The Jacobson case is inapposite. It has no application to a vaccine approved for emergency use. An employer has no authority to force a worker to take a vaccine only approved for emergency use.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"A union payoff pure and simple."

Really? You do realize that 75% of the county workforce is union, don't you? This ruling only applies to employees at Gracedale. It has no application to the unions at the jail, 911, human services, juvenile justice center, courthouse or domestic relations. Also, the nonunion employees at Gracedale will benefit from this incentive.

I am glad to see it bc most of them are underpaid as it is.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, why the emergency use authorization make Jacobson inapposite? There was no such thing as emergency use authorization at the time, so we have no way of knowing whether or not the vaccine in that case would have been approved by EUA or trough the regular process.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The reason Jacobson is inapposite is bc the EUA enabling statute itself (Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act – 21 U.S.C. 564) specifically provides that an employee has "the option to accept or refuse administration of the product."

MYT1 said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/18/us/eeoc-employers-coronavirus-mandate.html

MYT1 said...

2 CHOICES:
1) Get the vaccine
2) or wear a mask and other protective gear at work at all times possible.

That was simple!!!

If it's possible, every county employee who shows up for work should be getting extra money (if there is money to be found.)

Anonymous said...

" I have no issue with incentivizing Gracedale workers to take a vaccine that will save the lives of residents. You apparently would rather see them die."

How do Gracedale patients get covid-19 if the patients are all vaccinated?

Why would you need to pay workers to take a vaccine if an effective vaccine has been administered free of charge to the patients?

Explain how an unvaccinated person can infect a vaccinated person without using faith based science.

...it's not about "old and white"....the only reason to vaccinate the staff before the patients, is the realization that the patients in care homes already have end of life illnesses and will die shortly regardless of a vaccine or any other medical intervention...

...in other words, if you vaccinated the patients first, they would all die anyway from what's really killing them, and that would be indicative of the fraudulent numbers and the entire bogus narrative.

Anonymous said...

They do have the authority to require the vaccine or can prohibit the employee from entering the workplace.

https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws

Anonymous said...

The employer can refuse entry into the workplace is the vaccine is refused.

https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:52 and 12:00, The EEOC only administers the ADA, and has nothing to do with a statute that by its express terms makes an emergency use vaccine optional. Don’t get me wrong. I think we all should get it, and it can be mandated once there is final approval.

1:11, you are really just another of the sad deniers. But you have also revealed your disdain for the residents. If the residents are vaccinated, we still have no assurance they are home free bc we do not know how long the vaccine lasts yet. So everyone should get it. Duh.

Anonymous said...

"If the residents are vaccinated, we still have no assurance they are home free bc we do not know how long the vaccine lasts yet."

"Home free"?

The purpose of end of life and aged care facilities, and Gracedale in particular, is to make "residence" comfortable as they die, to provide for a caring and humane death, it's hospice care no patient is ever "home free" and will never go home again unless it's to die there.

Why do you pretend otherwise?

Anonymous said...

$420,000 would have been better spent offering payroll protection grants to the dozens of restaurants and gyms in the county who cannot offer paychecks to their employees. Gracedale workers are getting a friggin paycheck. Businesses, who pay the taxes that pay Gracedale workers get screwed twice. Bad idea by a bad county council and equally tone-deaf executive.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:29, It is not a hospice nut a nursing home, and many residents continue to lead long and productive lives there. I have met several at Council meetings and your statement is outrageous. Moreover, for some, it is temporary. YOU do not know what you are talking about, AS USUAL.

Bernie O'Hare said...

5:20, I agree the $ is better spent on struggling businesses, but this money MUST be spent solely on Gracedale.

Anonymous said...

As each day passes another group is claiming to be essential and as they announce I see the older folks in our community getting pushed back in the line. To the best of my knowledge the current vaccines lessen severe symptoms of the virus but does not prevent infection and whether these colonized infections of individuals can be transmitted to others is yet to be known. For many of us the light at the end of the tunnel remains that large freight train speeding towards us. I say this as the morning TV "news" outlets are reporting a significant mutation of the virus in England that is a little scary. Especially since Biden has considered in the past that shutting our country to arrivals from outside our country to be xenophobic. I recommend we all get ready for an even wilder ride.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are completely wrong, and are just blathering nonsense. The vaccines approved for emergency use are highly effective at preventing you from contracting the disease, not lessening severity. The only question is whether the immunity is temporary. Also, your suggestion (with no link) that older folks are being pushed back is patently false.

For those interested in when they can get the vaccine, check this link:

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/find-covid-19-vaccine/story?id=74764103

Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong with providing an incentive to critical frontline workers to at least CONSIDER getting the vaccine. $750 seems like an appropriate amount; not enough to make someone completely compromise their bodily autonomy but an attractive enough amount that these completely exhausted workers will take the time to research the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Seems some of you would rather continue ranting about how the government sacrificed our elderly to COVID than actually solve the problem!

Ultimately, I'd love to see this incentive carried throughout the county but I understand these specific funds are slated for Gracedale only. I'd expect more monies will be coming available for use at other sites soon (especially if Warnock and Ossoff win in Georgia on Jan 6th). Incentives are actually pretty useful in encouraging people to do what's ultimately for the greater good.

LVCI said...

I kind of think of it this way. If this could prevent just five expensive hospitalizations it could possibly pay for itself. AND.. I'm not factoring in the replacement costs if these five weren't able to work for several weeks while recuperating.

So to my way of thinking this benefits not only employees but Northampton County's bottom line as well

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

I decline to post comments claiming employees can be mandated or fired. I have explained twice they can’t.

Anonymous said...

Really 2:33? Equating unprotected, penetrative sex to an FDA-approved inoculation is stupid to the level of irresponsibility. I have a serious question for you... If someone offered you $750 to get the vaccine, would you at least look into the science behind it? Because I would, just saying!

Anonymous said...

It is really funny how McClure sets up this council. He makes sure he gets any praise and they take any heat. The guy knows how to maneuver them and keep his fingerprints off any fallout. Of course you help but it is mainly him.

Anonymous said...

Does accepting the $750 as compensation for taking the vaccine negate your life insurance policy if you should die?

Will accepting the $750 further complicate receiving short or long term disability benefits should you have adverse reactions?

5:39pm ....it's a little early for me to agree to a settlement. I would have to consider what my family would need if I were injured or killed.

You don't need science to understand this thing, you need a History lesson.

Anonymous said...

Well, Bernie as per today's edition Morning Call you better start gaining weight. After all the "essentials" now including fire/police, school staff, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal workers, public transport and grocery workers, those 75 and older will be next in line. Oh, if you are over 64 and obese or under treatment for cancer you can make the cut. Thus my recommendation to you. I stand behind what I wrote on Dec. 20 at 9:34 am. Yep, I can be guilty of "blathering nonsense" but not in that passage. Especially since our current "guru' Dr. Fauci explained in a number of articles how this vaccine will lessen the severe symptoms and death and cut stress on hospitals but does not prevent recipients in getting infected. He recommends that people still wear masks and practice social distancing after vaccination because of the folks who can't take vaccines and possible transmission of virus from those vaccinated but colonized and able to transmit. This is nothing new in the world of "flu" type vaccine and not hidden by anyone. Just not explained in depth outside medical journals. Oh, have we started limiting folks from England coming here yet? Some countries in Europe have started. Has Biden made any comments? Or, his potential appointees chimed in yet?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have no problem standing behind any of the front-line groups you mention or behind those older than me or those with health issues. Makes absolute sense. You are a selfish persoin to suggest you should be in front of these folks. As for a UK travel ban, you seem to have forgotten that Trump is still President.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, as I write this as of now I don't see myself as selfish with respect to the vaccine. Maybe in other things, but my ability to take this vaccine is compromised by previous allergic responses to vaccines so I can't be selfish with respect to this virus. This may change as more information is obtained on vaccine safety with potential allergic reactions. I did not forget who is currently President. Biden has weighed in on issues prior to this election and is currently commenting on a number of issues. I simply asked if he had made any comments as the major news outlets continue to report on the concerns in England. I still think we are in for a wild ride with much unknown and as always, with people, complicated by vested interests and money.