Watch CBS News

Alderman Baffled By Revelation That City Council Staffers Have Lowest Rate Of COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting Of Any City Employees

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The deadline for Chicago employees not only to report their COVID vaccine status, but also get their shots, is less than four weeks away.

You might be surprised to learn what group of city employees has the lowest reporting rate. It's not the Police Department. No.

It's the City Council.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Monday night, this revelation floored one alderman. Ald. James Cappleman (46th), the vice-chair of the City Council Health Committee said he is stunned, and frankly, embarrassed – especially considering it was the police union that spent weeks fighting Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the mandate.

"We've been talking the talk," Cappleman said. "Now we've got to walk the walk."

Cappleman is not excusing the City Council's last-place COVID-19 vaccine reporting status. But he is baffled by it.

"It's embarrassing," Cappleman said. "I mean, we're supposed to be the leaders in all of this."

With the Jan. 1 deadline for all city employees to be vaccinated or face no-pay status looming, Cappleman said it will be a focus at the next meeting of the Health Committee.

"I think this is good notice for us to get our act together and make sure that we follow through with this mandate that is done to protect everyone," he said.

According to the latest city portal data, just 84.27 percent of City Council member staffers have reported their vaccine status – well past the Oct. 15 deadline to do so. The Council trails the Police Department – which now has a reporting rate of more than 89 percent.

The third worst is the city Treasurer's Office.

In October, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police urged its members to defy the reporting mandate, resulting in a court battle and a public feud with Mayor Lightfoot.

"It's foolishness, and I'm going to do everything to stop it," Mayor Lightfoot said on Oct. 21.

The battle went on for weeks, with a judge ultimately ruling the vaccine deadline cannot be enforced until the issue goes through arbitration. Cappleman acknowledges this makes it all the more surprising the City Council now lags behind the CPD.

"We have to do this," Cappleman said.

Cappleman said after Kozlov called him, he checked with his chief of staff to make sure all his staffers are in compliance. He said they are.

The city Clerk's portal does not list the reporting rates of each aldermanic office.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.