First published in the Jan. 20 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
An arbitrator charged with resolving a dispute between the San Marino Police Officers Association and the city of San Marino over the city’s proposed mandatory COVID vaccine policy has decided in favor of the city, it was reported at last Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
The City Council approved the resolution accepting the decision by a 4-0-1 margin, with Dr. Steven Huang abstaining.
Under state law, the SMPOA can also request that a fact-finding panel review the matter, which they already have, according to Sgt. Naved Qureshi, president of the union. The matter will be presented to the fact-finding panel on Feb. 11, with action expected by the City Council in March, according to Steve Filarsky, an attorney who is representing the city of San Marino.
There were no community members present at Wednesday’s meeting to speak on the matter and nobody wrote to the city or requested a virtual connection to communicate an opinion.
The city of San Marino and SMPOA began negotiation on a mandatory vaccine mandate on Aug. 12, and declared an impasse on Oct. 5. Arbitration began on Dec. 11 and an opinion was announced on Dec. 22. Filarsky said the ruling “essentially upholds the city’s opinion and rejects the POA’s position.”
On Sept. 9, the city announced the policy calling for the mandatory vaccination of all city employees “to protect the health and safety of the San Marino community, while also meeting its obligation to provide a safe and healthy workforce.”
The city has three labor unions, including the SMPOA, the San Marino City Employees Association — which represents San Marino’s 38 full-time, non-
sworn employees — and the San Marino Firefighters Association. Firefighters and paramedics additionally fall under a separate mandate from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which on Aug. 12 imposed a Sept. 30 deadline to demonstrate proof of receiving a final dose of a COVID vaccine.