The West Chester Borough Council continues to enact mandates that epitomize government overreach. Now, they are also denying hard-working Borough staff the opportunity for lucrative employment. 

On Oct. 20, 2021, the Council voted unanimously to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine as a condition of employment for all Borough employees. Most municipalities have refrained from this draconian step, including Chester County. The Borough employs a total of 126 staff, including 43 police officers who are members of the Brotherhood of West Chester Police union and 40 staff from public works, dispatch, and parking who are members of the AFSCME union.

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When the Council voted to approve the vaccine requirement, they were aware of objections from both staff and unions. The contract between the Brotherhood of West Chester Police and the Borough requires arbitration for this type of change in employment conditions, and Council knew they would need to complete that process before full implementation of the mandate. Therefore, on Dec. 31, any non-police union staff who had not provided documentation of vaccination was placed on unpaid administrative leave for 30 days. There are currently five Borough staff on unpaid leave, and they will be terminated on Jan. 31 if they fail to present proof of vaccination. It is unknown how many police officers will fall into the same category after the completion of the arbitration process.

At the October Council meeting, I stated my objections to the mandate and voiced my concern about the expense of defending this requirement. One council member responded that the mandate would actually save money because employees would not get as sick, and the medical insurance costs would drop. When I requested for the legal expenses related to the vaccine mandate, I was instructed to submit a Right to Know request. Through that request, I learned that the Borough had spent $14,500 in legal fees from September through Nov. 11, and the arbitration process had not even begun yet. With over $14,000 spent in two months, it seems reasonable to estimate that legal fees could easily exceed $50,000, especially during the arbitration process.

For a Borough that needed to cut costs, programs, and capital projects to balance the budget, it is simply irresponsible to waste taxpayers’ dollars to require a vaccine. This mandate is reminiscent of a similar one passed in the fall of 2020, when residents were told they could not have more than ten people in their homes at one time and they were required to wear cloth masks while outside. Both offenses carried up to a $300 fine. While that mandate represented government overreach, those bothered by it simply ignored it because no one was actually enforcing it, and it expired after 90 days. It amounted to nothing more than political theatre.

It is imperative that we end this level of government overreach. How many freedoms will be taken away from our Borough residents before it goes too far?

That political stunt in 2020 paved the way for a new move to take away individual rights and freedoms. With this vaccine mandate, hard-working employees are going to be denied the right to support their families and put food on their tables, and the taxpayers of West Chester are going to foot the bill for the Council’s “reign of error.”

Earlier this month, three new Council members were sworn into office. It is my sincere hope that they will recognize the error of this decision and work to reverse it. The new Council can vote to end the mandate, allow everyone to get back to work, and save thousands of dollars in the process. It is imperative that we end this level of government overreach. How many freedoms will be taken away from our Borough residents before it goes too far? Council crossed the line last year, and it is only getting worse. When will the reign of error end?

Beth Ann Rosica is a member of the Chester County Libertarian Committee and a former candidate for Mayor of West Chester Borough.

4 thoughts on “Beth Ann Rosica: West Chester’s reign of error continues”

  1. I did not interpret the 2020 emergency ordinance as political theater but an earnest effort on the part of council to protect the health and lives of borough residents. Medical doctors from Chester County Hospital as well as administrators from congregate care facilities testified as to why such measures would help to mute community transmission of COVID and work to protect the lives and wellbeing of fellow citizens. I remember the council meeting in 2020 when the emergency ordinance was adopted, and it seemed to me that this testimony largely fell on the un-listening when it came to the objections raised by you and others. I remember your rebuke of the ordinance as an infringement of your constitutional rights, and I believe that you have since sued the borough council over the ordinance. As far as the more recent vaccine mandate for borough workers, while I can sympathize with those who are hesitant to take the vaccine, employees (and by extension their families) have the right to be protected from known health and safety risks at their work. And there is in fact a long precedent for vaccine mandates in the US at the state and local levels. Measures that prevent the transmission of COVID in fact can function to keep workplaces safe for their employees so that they can continue to work and support their families. I am curious to know whether you (and the school board candidates you support) object to all mandates, mask or vaccine, no matter the contagion or public health threat?

  2. “There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good,” read the majority opinion. “On any other basis, organized society could not exist with safety to its members. Society based on the rule that each one is a law unto himself would soon be confronted with disorder and anarchy.”… “Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.” Justice John Marshall Harlan.

    1. The protected feel the need to be protected from the unprotected, so they are requiring the unprotected to take the protection that failed to protect the protected from the unprotected. Hmmmm.

  3. True story, god is my sole judge and jury…

    August 2020. Emergency room area at the Chester County Hospital, due to slight injury.

    Empty emergency waiting room. That’s right.. EMPTY.. we were the only ones. No waiting in line, no waiting to see a doctor.. NOBODY WAS THERE.

    Pandemic? Surely you jest.

    TAKE THE MASKS OF THE KIDS.. THE EVIL IS LITERALLY KILLING OUR CHILDREN.. all going as “they” planned.. those who refuse to see it? Blood on your own hands as well.
    WAKE UP!

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