By Robert Kimmel
He doesn’t hold political office, but Jared Rosenberg has made his voice heard clearly in the pursuit of more federal financial aid for states and municipalities managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosenberg, a Greenburgh police officer, who heads the Town’s Emergency Medical Services, (EMS), team, has been dealing directly with the pandemic’s effects with his paramedic staff of the first responders that provide emergency care and transport the seriously ill to hospitals.
“Jared’s efforts have recently received recognition beyond Greenburgh,” says Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, adding, “Jared is also helping us lobby for federal dollars to offset some anticipated revenue shortages we expect from COVID-19.” Estimates have Greenburgh losing “as much as $7 million in revenue in sales tax, hotel tax,” along with other sources of income, says the Supervisor.
When interviewed by PBS television news about a new coronavirus financial relief bill pending in Washington, Rosenberg said: “We have been working real hard to just find and acquire adequate supplies. We’re looking at a $7 million shortfall for the whole entire town. So, of course, that’s always going to lead to the possibility of job layoffs.” And that’s just Greenburgh.
Rosenberg is also president of Civil Service Employees Association Unit 8215, which represents 200 Town employees and is affiliated with a national labor organization. It was in that capacity that he recently joined in a teleconference with that national group’s president Lee Saunders, along with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
During that conference, Rosenberg stated, “We’ve already been asked to assess where we can cut expenditures. He described possible layoffs as “downright shameful. We can’t beat the virus and recover as a nation if we’re going to cut the services and the public-service workers we need now more than ever.”
Legislation passed in Washington offering relief funds has thus far not included financial aid to offset revenue lost by local municipalities. Bills providing such funds are currently the subject of politically-divided debate in the Capitol.
“I feel positive that something will come through,” Rosenberg told The Hudson Independent. “It was good to talk to people, Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi who are definitely trying to do the right thing. That’s the important thing and I don’t care if you are blue or red, politically.”
During the height of the pandemic locally, almost a third of the emergency calls his paramedics responded to were related to COVID-19, Rosenberg reported. Four of the 30 EMS workforce he supervises came down with the coronavirus, though all have recovered.
Every response involving coronavirus cases does not require transportation to hospitals, according to Rosenberg. Citing New York State protocols, he explained that some residents receive what he called “doorway triage.” Whether they are taken to the hospital depends on their symptoms, age, and ability to monitor themselves.
“We were averaging about 25 to 30 calls a day,” reports Rosenberg. Extra twelve-hour shifts were the norm. While the virus cases have slowed over the past three weeks, he said, “we are still picking up COVID-19 related calls.” Meanwhile, non-virus calls—emergency medical, trauma and the like—are returning to their normal numbers, as people become less fearful about being taken to emergency rooms.
“I’m praying that no one on the front line is going to end up losing their jobs because of the pandemic,” says Rosenberg, who has been with the Greenburgh Police Department for 20 years. The Department is one of the few that provide emergency medical services along with basic law enforcement.
While pursuing his call for federal funding, Rosenberg said he is “working closely with Paul Feiner, representing the Town and trying not to overstep my bounds, but from a union perspective, if I am invited to participate and support my members, that goes a little higher with me definitely getting involved.”
Rosenberg is “…one of our first responders who is always ready to help others in an emergency,” says Feiner. “Jared, in his spare time, volunteers and is head of the Dobbs Ferry Volunteer Ambulance Corps. We’re lucky to have dedicated employees like Jared Rosenberg working for the Town.”