KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs along with 54 other Tennessee county mayors signed a letter addressed to Gov. Bill Lee and other state officials condemning what they called the federal government’s overreach and encouraging the governor “to preserve the rights of the citizens in our counties” regarding health care issues and COVID-19.

Last month, the mayor stated in another letter that Knox County would not comply with the forthcoming OSHA rule for COVID-19 vaccine mandates that had been announced by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

Jacobs tweeted the letter early Monday morning. The letter, according to the mayors, is meant to serve as a “critical notice of concern for structural governmental overreach.” It also identified issues with which they agreed in a different letter by the Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

Several East Tennessee county mayors’ signatures are part of the letter, including: Bill Brittain (Hamblen), Terry Frank (Anderson), Ed Mitchell (Blount), E.L. Morton (Campbell), Joe Brooks (Claiborne), Crystal Ottinger (Cocke), Allen Foster (Cumberland), Jimmy Johnson (Fentress), Mike Byrd (Grainger), Kevin Morrison (Greene), Thomas Harrison (Hancock), Mark Potts (Jefferson), Mike Taylor (Johnson), Buddy Bradshaw (Loudon), John Gentry (McMinn), Bill James (Meigs), Mitch Ingram (Monroe), Brian Langley (Morgan), Ron Woody (Roane), Jeff Tibbais (Scott), Larry Waters (Sevier), Richard Venable (Sullivan), Garland Evely (Unicoi), Jason Bailey (Union) and Joe Grandy (Washington).

“As county mayors, we have worked diligently throughout the pandemic to reduce the risks of COVID-19 exposure, as have many employers throughout Tennessee,” the letter states. “While we have taken many proactive steps, including coordinating with various agencies for both COVIDE-19 testing and wide distribution of vaccines, we believe a vaccine mandate is at least counterproductive, and at most, statutorily and constitutionally improper.”

The letter also touches on possible staffing shortages “that may only be amplified in critical sectors of society — from health care to law enforcement and EMS, to supply chain delivery due to many employees in these sectors who have openly expressed their willingness to vacate these essential jobs due to this mandate.”