‘There’s going to be a huge fiscal impact on every agency of the city government’ Mayor Bill de Blasio says
New York City will be placing resident’s lives at risk if it carries through with a plan to eliminate hundreds of emergency medical responder positions amid the progression of COVID-19, the head of New York City’s emergency medical services union said.
Officials say all New York City agencies are facing potential layoffs as the city has been grappling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that upward of 22,000 public employees may be at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
“There’s going to be a huge fiscal impact on every agency of the city government,” de Blasio said Wednesday.
The news hit home for Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY EMS Local 257, who said its members have worked tirelessly on front lines of the city — once deemed the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak — since the pandemic struck earlier this year.
Since then, seven members have already lost their lives due to their efforts, Barzilay told Fox News.
“Even with the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 looming and two recent outbreaks in Brooklyn, Bill de Blasio and his team at City Hall wants to balance the city’s budget on our backs,” Barzilay said, adding that this may result in eliminating some 400 positions.
If these budget cuts are enacted, Barzilay said it’s likely there will be delays in service, which victims cannot afford in an emergency situation.
“People will die needlessly,” he said.
Although the city does not want to implement layoffs “this is the hole we are in without a stimulus or borrowing authority,” press secretary Bill Neidhardt told FOX News.
“Our EMTs and firefighters save lives every day and we are working with their unions to find personnel savings to avoid layoffs, but unfortunately all agencies will face layoffs,” he said. “Without a stimulus or borrowing authority, EMTs and firefighters will have to find personnel savings.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio said the city will keep fighting for a stimulus to avoid layoffs.
“And again, our job is to work together to try and avert it because the last thing we want to do in the middle of an economic crisis is lay off a bunch of people and not provide as much service,” he said.
Although he noted that there is a chance the city will receive a surprise from Washington, he said it’s more likely that long-term borrowing in Albany will be the necessary solution to avert layoffs.
To date, no layoff notices have been sent out. The city is still in discussions with all unions about alternative solutions to save money.