Op-ed | How NYC Transit has coped in times of COVID-19

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By Sarah E Feinberg

The last eight months have been devastating to the New York City Transit family.

Tragically, we lost many colleagues to the coronavirus, a heartbreaking fact that weighs heavily on all of us. Our fallen brothers and sisters were heroes, and we are committed
to honoring their service and sacrifice.
This spring, at the height of the pandemic, we felt the most immediate way we could honor and care for each of our lost colleagues was to ensure that we were doing all we
could to support their families.

We formed the Family Liaison Program so that every single family who lost a loved one to COVID-19 would have a senior contact at Transit whom they could lean on during this difficult time. Our liaisons talk with these families weekly, often daily, and sometimes multiple times a day.
To date, we have processed 112 family claims. Our program has been a model for others. Our family liaisons have escorted families through the bureaucratic processes that can be hard to navigate while grieving: gathering paperwork, and applying for pension benefits and the MTA’s family benefits program. Our staff has been working around the clock to ensure the families have all the necessary forms, and that every document is finalized. But beyond that, our liaisons provided emotional support as well, mourning alongside the families in an unthinkably challenging time.
Monica Murray, Transit’s Chief Administrative Officer, has been the backbone of this program from the start. In addition to ensuring each and every family has a successful and ongoing engagement with our liaisons, she is herself in touch with many of the
families day in and day out. I also want to thank our larger team of liaisons, who have undertaken this important work on top of their other responsibilities. Their efforts are nothing short of admirable, and I commend them.
I had no idea what lay ahead when I came into this job in March. But it has been a privilege to watch this agency come together so effectively in service of our fallen heroes. I truly believe that New York City Transit is a family, one with nearly 50,000 members, but a family nonetheless. As we look toward the holidays, I want to make
sure each and every one of them knows how grateful I am to have them as colleagues.

Sarah E. Feinberg is the Interim President of the New York City Transit Authority,