Mayor Tom Henry fires back at City Councilmen who questioned vaccine incentives for city employees

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry has replied to the five Republican City Council members who last week took issue with his proposed vaccination incentives for city employees.

Earlier this month, Henry announced city employees who voluntarily share proof of a COVID-19 vaccination will receive a $200 “wellness initiative” check.

Councilmembers Jason Arp, Tom Didier, Paul Ensley, Tom Freistroffer, and Russ Jehl, then, sent a letter to Henry that said they were never notified about Henry’s plan to award incentives or the cost or how they’ll be funded. City Council is the fiscal body of Fort Wayne’s government.

“State law explicitly prohibits local governments from mandating vaccines, yet you have laid out a series of policy proposals which seek to encourage exactly what the State prohibits the City from doing,” the letter said.

On Tuesday, Henry responded with a letter of his own, with the intention to “clear up some misinformation you must have.”

Henry said the wellness incentives will work much in the same way city employees receive benefits for routine screening and tests, healthy lifestyle choices and tobacco cessation.

He wrote in the letter that City Controller Garry Morr previously explained the wellness incentives to the councilmembers. The funds come from the city’s Group Health Insurance Fund, which is not an appropriated fund, Henry said.

Henry went on to argue that “public health is not and should not be a political matter.”

Below is Henry’s full letter:

Henry ended the letter by encouraging the councilmembers to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

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