On February 22, 2022, in Asheville, NC, a Civil Services Board Grievance Hearing was held regarding the firing of five city employees, including sanitation, Parks and Rec workers, police, and a firefighter, for not complying with the human resource policy of providing proof of vaccination or submitting to weekly testing. Testing is required at the employee's expense, on their own time. Because the five employees freely admitted that they did not comply with the policy, the City Attorney, John Maddux, argued in the hearing that the case should be dismissed. However, to provide an overabundance of caution, he brought two witnesses to testify about the policy and justification for the firings.
The first witness was Stacie Saunders, the Buncombe County Department of Public Health director. After giving her background, which was not that of a doctor but a public health expert, she quoted pharmaceutical talking points. She extolled the virtues of vaccination as "one of the greatest human achievements." She invoked fear about COVID by stating that "since the beginning of COVID, there have been 4.4 million hospitalizations." Not clarifying, however, if those hospitalizations were from or with COVID.
During the cross-examination, the plaintiff's lawyer Lakota R. Denton, despite having many of his questions objected to and sustained, was able to have Ms. Saunders admit that she:
- She has not read the COVID 19 vaccine insert.
- She avoided confirming that before people are administered the vaccine, they are fully informed of both the risks of not getting the vaccine (0.05% risk of death) and the risk of vaccine injury (over 1 million reports on VAERS - which is likely vastly under-reported).
- She admitted that she has not researched the adverse reactions to the vaccine because that's not "her job."
- And yet, she previously stated that "her job was to investigate COVID 19," track the spread and work to stop the spread.
- She admitted that vaccinated people can still contract and spread covid.
- She shared her understanding that the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), the tool they use to improve the vaccine's safety, is not verified. However, VAERS reports are vetted for duplicates before posting, and there are hundreds of thousands on backlog waiting for said vetting. She claimed that people could be posting "multiple reports," providing no evidence that this is true.
- She had no knowledge of the percentage of people who die from COVID but stated that 530 people in Buncombe County have died of COVID-related deaths. However, she did not make clear if those deaths were from or with COVID and had other comorbidities.
- She had no knowledge of city employees having vaccine reactions (there are) and was not aware of any compensation program set up for vaccine-related injuries.
- She stated misinformation about natural immunity, stating that "natural immunity varies and we don't know for how long it lasts" despite the fact that there are studies showing that COVID 19 natural immunity is more robust than vaccine-induced immunity.
- She admitted that the Dept of Public Health stated that "every eligible employee should get the COVID 19 vaccine" "could" also include a recommendation for each person to seek advice from their doctor and be aware that there are risks for specific individuals. She refused to say "should."
Mr. Denton then cross-examined the Head of the City's Human Resources, Ms.Shannon Barrett, and she admitted that:
- She does not know if any of the PCR tests are approved by the FDA.
- The tests are not always accurate and can have false positives or negatives.
- She had no data to show that the policy of requiring vaccines or weekly testing effectively reduces the spread of covid.
- Admitted that human resource policy should be based on "data and authoritative sources" and could provide no data to back up their policy. The "authoritative source" document that the City's lawyer submitted was from the CDC, the same source that they discredit when referring to the CDC VAERS database.
- When the plaintiff's lawyer asked Bennett, "Have you seen any data that compares people who have been vaxxed vs. unvaxxed and natural immunity?" She replied, "I have not, and I have not looked for that data."
During this cross-examination of Ms. Bennett, the Madame Chair, Carol Goins, ruled that Denton's questioning about the Supreme Court striking down the OSHA ruling mandating employees of businesses of 100 or more to get vaccinated as "irrelevant." A Supreme Court ruling about the very same topic is relevant, and the Madam Chair clearly showed preference to the City's actions.
It was alarming to see the number of times that the plaintiff's lawyer was not allowed to continue his line of questioning pertaining to very relevant topics. Even more concerning to hear a Civil services Board member prompt the HR staffer to talk about "disinformation" and, in the same breath, mention "the over 20,000 deaths" (as recorded on the CDC website), alluding to those tragic, time-consuming reports as false.
Around 4 pm, after a series of questions from the Civil Services Board and Chairwoman that were biased towards the side of the city attorney, they made a motion for a closed session. This motion was unusual, and Denton predicted that they would be shutting the hearing down. When they came back, they read a statement. The statement said they had "carried the burden enough" to consider the case. They determined that the city employees were justifiably fired and dismissed the hearing. The plaintiff's lawyer pointed out that the hearing had not been carried out in due process, the plaintiff's and their expert witness had not been heard. Denton was concerned that when he filed an appeal at the Superior Court, he would be told that his clients had not been afforded due process and he would end up back with the Civil Services Board, and they would have to go through the process all over again. The Chair simply said "duly noted," and the hearing ended.
It is of this author's opinion, who watched every minute of the hearing that they ended the hearing because they could no longer "bear the burden" not of "considering the case" as they stated, but of being embarrassed.
What is clear is that if this hearing was any indication of the knowledge of our Department of Health and City Management employees across the country, who are not elected and therefore are not beholden to the public, our city servants are vastly misinformed. Their breadth of knowledge consists only of what the State Department of Public Health and CDC dictate, and they do not seek independent or inconveinent information. They claim that members of the public are "threatening public health with disinformation." And yet, they cannot provide any evidence for their assumptions, only "hope" that their policies work. Meanwhile, they go to the extreme measure of firing tax-paying, dedicated people with families to feed and the goal of pensions to support their retirement, leaving them in jeopardy.
Moms Across America asks our readers to consider the implications of leaving mandates unchallenged and invites you to take action to support your city servants in their freedom of choice and ability to pursue health and happiness.