Previously private emails show Mayor Bill McMurray and Councilman Madison Davis butted heads over a proposed resolution about mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
In the emails, Davis claimed McMurray blocked his resolution from reaching the council’s recent agenda, though he’s since said the mayor just doesn’t want the resolution to pass, something McMurray acknowledges.
“The mayor has refused to allow a resolution stating that the city council would not be mandating the vaccine to receive a vote by the members,” Davis wrote in an email sent Monday and obtained through an open records request Tuesday.
In an email to News-Press NOW on Tuesday, Davis backed off his comments and instead said that McMurray didn’t like the resolution.
McMurray said he doesn’t have the authority to keep a member’s proposed resolution off the agenda. He told News-Press NOW that he doesn’t support the resolution but never tried to block Davis’ move.
“In my mind, this is getting awfully close to political theater,” McMurray said. “We’re supposed to be nonpartisan.”
The text of Davis’ resolution hasn’t been released. In an email, apparently with a constituent, Davis wrote that the resolution would say that the city wouldn’t mandate employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine. City Council resolutions are not legally binding.
Davis declined an interview for this story and didn’t respond to a follow-up question about his change in language from McMurray refusing to allow the resolution in an email to a constituent to the mayor not wanting it in an email to News-Press NOW.
In his email to a constituent, Davis said the resolution was in response to a vaccine directive issued by President Joe Biden. The president recently signed an executive order requiring a federal agency to draw up rules for large employers to require COVID vaccination or weekly testing.
McMurray said the resolution is premature because the text of the federal rule hasn’t been released, and city employees could be exempt from the vaccination requirement. He told News-Press NOW that a supermajority of the council doesn’t support Davis’ resolution.
“Let’s wait until we actually see the (federal) order,” McMurray said. “The city manager told me that it was requested and they were starting to work on it. And I said, ‘What’s the point of spending staff time working on a resolution and putting it up if a majority of the council is going to vote it down?’”
McMurray had an answer to his own question.
“Unless you want to play to a certain political opinion, and I don’t think that’s our function,” he said.
Davis said the text of his resolution would be unveiled Sept. 30, with a council vote shortly thereafter.