Los Angeles County, not the elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva, will now have the power to discipline and fire deputies who don’t comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates after a new motion passed Tuesday. 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Tuesday giving the county personnel director, instead of the department heads, the power to discipline or terminate employees who do not comply with the county’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements, Fox News reports. 

Though the move reneges this authority from all department heads, it’s largely viewed as a way to rein in Villanueva, who has for months refused to enforce the county’s vaccine mandate, instead allowing a regular testing option. He has argued that thousands of deputies could now lose their jobs.

The rule change was first introduced in February by supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Holly Mitchell. 

In their motion, they cited an "inconsistent application and enforcement" of the county vaccine policy and a "wide variety from department to department." At the time, 81% of the county's 100,000 employees were fully vaccinated, while the rate for the sheriff’s department stood at just 60%. 

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