We were dismayed by Mayor Eric Adams’ recent announcement that he is withdrawing the Covid-19 vaccination mandate for New York City workers. As the New York Post reported, however, Adams also said that city workers who were fired for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine can reapply for their jobs. The caveats: there would be no back pay, guarantee of jobs, or restoration of seniority or specific job assignments.

It’s not that we necessarily want people to be paid for time they didn’t work, or that we don’t recognize that the municipal workplace has moved on such that those who were fired may not be an easy fit. What does concern us is that many of those fired were members of the uniformed services who put their lives on the line on a regular basis. Their sacrifices should merit some special attention and perhaps accommodation where possible.


Contrast Adams’ policy stance with New York State’s plan for granting licenses for the sale of newly legalized cannabis. The first batch of licenses granted by the New York State Office of Cannabis Management will go primarily to individuals from a pool of people convicted of cannabis related crimes or their relatives. Organizations that serve or employ people with past histories of cannabis-related arrest or incarceration would also qualify.

According to the New York Times, the state plan includes providing the license holders with storefronts and loans; once approved, state regulators will “be assisting them as much as possible to … open a dispensary.”

While we certainly appreciate that New York State and New York City are different political entities, it does seem rather bizarre that some people should be rewarded for having been convicted of a crime, while public servants who did nothing criminal – unless it is a crime to follow your conscience or act out of concern for your health – should be penalized.

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