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Some Mecklenburg County officials worried about county operations during suspensions

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CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — With more than 13% of their workforce suspended, some Mecklenburg County officials are concerned about the toll it will take on County operations, others are more optimistic.

Today is the first day of suspension for almost 600 County employees who didn’t provide proof of vaccination or a COVID test. The Department of Social Services and Parks and Recreation had the highest amount of county employees who failed to comply, so they are of most concern to Commissioners.

Of the 598 suspended, 221 are from the Parks and Recreation Department, and 128 are from DSS. The Parks and Rec Department is in charge of maintaining 230 facilities located on more than 21,000 acres of parkland throughout Mecklenburg County.

Commissioner Laura Meier is hoping employees make the right choice and get back to work as soon as possible.

“We’re already understaffed in parks and recreation. So I assume if we’re, if they’re not going to be turning in their COVID tests or not getting vaccinated, it will create a negative impact on our parks and on the people of Mecklenburg County,” Meier said.

FOX 46 reached out to the departments to find out how they are planning to pick up the slack of the suspended employees, but no one was available for an interview. Commissioner George Dunlap said he was not concerned about the possible implications of having 600 County employees at work.

“If anything, the caseload might increase. And, of course, if that were to happen, we hope that that wouldn’t last, but so long, because we worked really hard to reduce the caseload for our DSS employees. So I don’t expect any significant negative impact from the reduction of employees,” Dunlap said.

Though, community members said they’re concerned that their tax payer dollars are going to waste if the County can’t keep up its parks or services.

“I still go to the park to play basketball sometimes and when I see rated R stuff on the ground it just makes me feel uncomfortable at the park,”  a community member said. 

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