What if they had a litigation and one party ate its homework?
Ok, so an attorney representing Gainesville was present at the circuit court hearing on whether the City Commission can require its employees to be vaccinated against Covid.
But one wonders why he even bothered to be there? As Judge Monica J. Brasington stated in her emergency injunction preventing the city vaccine mandate from being enforced:
““The city did not put on any evidence, at all, at the injunction hearing. Without any evidence, the court is unable to consider whether the vaccine mandate serves a compelling interest through the least restrictive means, whether the vaccine mandate meets a strict scrutiny test, a rational basis test, or whether it meets any other standard.”
How embarrassing is that? Sounds like a total lack of preparation on somebody’s part.
Anyway, not to worry. As outgoing City Attorney Nicolle Shalley said in an email to commissioners following the ruling, “The injunction shall continue in force until further order of the court. No action by the city commission is necessary at this time.”
What additional “action” could the commission possibly take to goad staff into doing its job?
She did promise, however, that charter officers will “further review this matter, develop recommendations including next steps and report back to the city commission.”
That being legalese for “later.”
We’ve seen this movie before. City commissioners can enact all the policy they want. But if employees don’t particularly want to follow the commission‘s will, they often figure out how to delay, obfuscate and generally ignore the mandate of the moment.
Seriously, maybe the commission ought to hire outside counsel to…you know…present witnesses and evidence and stuff in the City’s defense.