The City of Palm Coast’s IT Department sent an email to employees and at least one council member asking their COVID-19 vaccination status, stating that the information was necessary due to new county requirements.
Beyond the controversial nature of the question in these divided times, there was another issue: It was not true.
According to the city’s Information Technology Director Doug Akins, the email was just a test to see how employees respond to possible internet scams.
Councilman Ed Danko said in a phone interview that it was a poor way to check responses.
“There are a lot of other ways to do a test. This is the worst way possible,” Danko said.
Danko said COVID-19 was a poor choice for any kind of computer test given the political divisions over vaccinations, mask mandates and the coronavirus.
“It’s the wrong time. It’s the wrong place. It’s the wrong state,” Danko said.
Flagler County is largely Republican with many Trump supporters, said Danko, who is vice president of the Flagler Trump Club. He said city workers also reflect that population and could be upset by the city email asking for their vaccination status.
“There are people who have chosen to be vaccinated and that’s fine, that’s their choice,” Danko said. “But we don’t need them to tell us what their choice is. That’s a private medical decision between them and their doctor, not them and the City of Palm Coast.”
Flagler County has 40,906 registered Republicans, 27,105 Democrats and 23,374 voters with no-party affiliation. Another 1,504 registered voters are listed as “others.”
Danko also said placing the blame on the county, even in a test email, could hurt relations between the two governments.
Palm Coast City spokeswoman Brittany Kershaw said that the city provides an incentive for employees to get vaccinated: three days off or a one-time payment of $250. But it does not track who is vaccinated and who is not.
Kershaw said in a phone interview that the email was part of city’s…