Natrona County and State AG examine impact of vaccine mandates on contractors, vendors and employees

Teams are working on the new facade for an upcoming Michaels store at the Blackmore Marketplace in East Casper on April 3, 2019. The store replaces a Gap and Shoe Carnival, both of which closed last year. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo – Natrona County officials are reviewing the impact and scope of existing federal mandates on contracts and services pending an impending new mandate that is supposed to affect any entity with 100 or more employees.

County officials say there has already been some hesitation on the part of contractors about which projects receive federal funding.

“What we are hearing is that there are concerns from contractors who would normally bid that they cannot,” Natrona County District Attorney Eric told Oil City News this week. last. “[Partly] because of the workforce, [and] because there is concern that they may not be able to comply with this vaccine mandate and that they may not bid. “

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The reluctance comes from federal mandates already in place. On September 9, President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring the vaccination of federal employees. Subsequent guidelines for law enforcement prescribe guarantees (including vaccinations) for persons “working on or in connection with a federal government contract or contract-like instrument”.

The extent to which this applies to county facilities operated on federal lands, as well as contracts administered by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, was discussed with department heads at a meeting of the WYDOT Aviation Commission, according to Nelson, who attended the meeting.

WYDOT Director Luke Reiner said current Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidelines state that the Executive Order’s requirements do not apply to WYDOT-led projects because state funds are “a step forward ”federal funds.

Glenn Januska, manager of Casper-Natrona County International Airport, told Oil City his industry is currently reviewing orders and guidance to see how they affect the range of contracts and services at airports. The county-owned airport leases land for operation from three federal agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, the General Services Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Januska said the GSA, which manages real estate deals for the Transportation Security Administration, sent her an addendum to the contract two weeks ago to comply with federal COVID-19 security requirements for TSA employees. Januska did not believe that there was a legal basis for forcing him to sign what he called an “arbitrary” modification of the rental agreement, although he would have to comply with it in a few years when renewing. .

Meanwhile, Januska said industry executives still envision the extent to which dealerships and other services like car rental agencies (which serve customers, but not necessarily federal employees) are affected by current mandates. .

Reluctance from contractors has been notable in Natrona County, particularly on the Kortes road improvement project, for which bids are expected in the coming weeks.

“They’re worried that if they get an offer they could lose a bond if they can’t comply,” deputy parks manager Michael Brown told Oil City News last week.

Nelson said the county is also considering the impact on facilities operated by the county on Bureau of Reclamation land, including Alcova and Pathfinder.

Nelson said on Tuesday he had not done a “legal analysis” of the relevant documents in sufficient depth to advise an entity on the extent to which the warrants apply. He said the state attorney general’s office was currently conducting such an analysis: “More to come,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gordon has vowed to work with State AG to push back the impending federal vaccination mandate to apply to any entity with 100 or more employees. Such an ordinance, which would have to be administered through the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, would render unambiguous about the dictate to vaccinate for many contractors and the Natrona County government moot.

Nelson said that although OSHA regulations are administered at the state level, the federal agency could step in to usurp Wyoming’s “primacy” if it chooses not to enforce the regulations, which lawmakers have said. the state are currently trying to prevent preventively during a special legislative session. starting Tuesday.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides data online on COVID-19 cases, variants, deaths, tests, hospitals and vaccines. The ministry also shares information on how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.

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