NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston City employees who were not partially vaccinated by Friday, Dec. 3 will soon face termination.
On Friday morning, multiple employees stopped by City Hall to return their gear and say goodbye to former coworkers.
Employees shared a recent notice they received from the City with News 2.
The letter was sent to employees who were denied a COVID-19 vaccine exemption or didn’t submit proof of vaccination. It said they will be on an unpaid leave of absence until December 10, effective noon on Friday.
The City said this seven-day timeframe is considered a grace period. Employees still have the option to get vaccinated. If not, their employment will come to an end.
Phil Pendergrass is a school resource officer who had his religious exemption denied. On Friday, he returned his gear ahead of his formal termination in a week.
“It’s sadness, there’s a lot of good people at City Hall. There’s a lot of officers I’m going to miss working with,” said Pendergrass with tears in his eyes.
North Charleston City leaders said 72 exemptions were denied, 20 were approved, and 13 people were given extensions.
“I don’t know how you can judge somebody’s religious beliefs and the sincerity of that. So that was really shocking,” said Pendergrass.
In a statement, City officials said:
“As employees of the City our job is to protect and serve our citizens. Vaccination is an important part of that. 95% of our employees are already compliant with the City’s vaccination policy, or well on their way to being so. We can’t think of any better example of dedicated public service. They are appreciated.”
Some North Charleston employees have already started looking for job opportunities at nearby agencies.
According to the Summerville Police Department, they’ve had 14 applicants from the North Charleston Police Department. Out of those, two have already been hired. Several others are in the process of potentially being hired.