FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 16, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 23
Moving the LIRR
‘Forward’ during the
BY PHIL ENG
As we welcome
more and more customers
the Long Island Rail
Road, it’s clearer than
ever that the progress
we’ve made over
the past two years
through “LIRR Forward” can’t stop now.
We continue to follow the philosophy
of the LIRR Forward blueprint to provide
robust reliability and exemplary customer
service, while at the same time fi nding ways
to cut costs and innovate instead of following
decades-old industry standards that have
long fallen short of our needs and those of
We’ve executed project and maintenance
delivery in ways many people haven’t witnessed
in decades. How did we get this done?
Smart decisions and the hard work, dedication
and pride of our 7,600-strong workforce.
Even as the novel coronavirus slammed New
York and aff ected our own ranks, we’ve been
working creatively to embrace new ways to
get work done effi ciently.
Over the past several months, we banded
together once again, as heroes moving heroes,
with management teams across maintenance
of equipment, transportation and engineering
departments that focused on controlling
costs while delivering robust, safe and reliable
essential service for frontline workers.
A partnership with the Transportation
Communications Union (TCU) leadership
helped create new roles using existing staff . At
the height of the pandemic, a newly formed
“GO Team” was deployed to employee facilities
whenever a worker was suspected of having
been exposed to the virus to disinfect that
workspace. As the number of cases dwindled
on LI, this team was repurposed to disinfect
smaller, remote employee facilities like trailers
and signal huts (previously cleaned by
contractors), saving money.
When the virus forced us to close ticket
windows, we reassigned ticket agents as
station ambassadors at nearly 30 stations,
engaging with customers and assisting station
maintainers in disinfecting key touchpoints
to supplement aggressive cleaning protocols.
Th ey also provide masks to customers
who left home without face coverings and
monitor hand sanitizer dispensers, among
We didn’t take our job in this lightly. And
now we need the federal government to step
up so we can continue to do our part to help
bring back New York’s economy, and in turn,
the nation’s economy.
Each one of us did our part to take Long
Island from one of the country’s hot spots to
phase four reopening. New York: Help keep
the curve fl attened by doing the right thing.
Wear a face covering. You never know whose
life it’s going to save.
Let’s keep this progress up.
Phil Eng is president of the Long Island
TAKING A LOOK AT
As part of the new $88 billion municipal
budget, there will be less money for
nonprofi t organizations. All nonprofi t
organizations need to look at their bottom
line. Before shedding any tears for
leaders of private nonprofi t institutions
when they protest potential budget cuts
from City Hall, check out the organizations’
fi nances, especially salaries of
their management team.
Too many executives of medium and
large nonprofi t institutions earn a base
salary from $100,000 or even more. Th is
is frequently supplemented by bonuses,
generous health plans and retirement
packages equivalent to or greater than
those of public offi cials, small business,
ordinary citizens or their clients.
Some pay excessive funds to public
relation fi rms and lobbyists hired to
lobby for government grants. Others
attempt to convince public offi cials to
support earmarking cash for their institutions.
Professional fundraising fi rms end up
taking a greater percentage of donations
actually meant for the nonprofi t institutions.
(Check with the State Attorney
General’s offi ce for their list of registered
charities before you respond to
See what percentage of your contribution
actually goes to your favorite charity
versus overhead costs for fundraising.
In many cases, the percentage is
In these lean times, executives of nonprofi
t organizations can set an example
for others. Th ey could take a pay cut
and donate some of the excessive compensation
or consider giving up some of
the perks to help their institution’s bottom
Larry Penner, Great Neck
WE MUST STAND UP
FOR WHAT’S RIGHT
Th e statues of famous Americans are
being destroyed by left -wing vandals.
I am very troubled by these egregious
acts against America. Th is includes the
destruction of a statue of Christopher
Columbus in Hartford, Conn.
My husband, Frederick R. Bedell
Jr., is Grand Knight of St. Anastasia
Knights of Columbus Council #5911
in Douglaston and is very troubled by
this, as well.
Meanwhile there is even talk of removing
or destroying the Mount Rushmore
monument — which boasts the faces of
George Washington, Th omas Jeff erson,
Th eodore Roosevelt and Abraham
Lincoln — because it sits on sacred
Indian grounds. I fi nd this very sad.
I agree with President Trump when
he said at Mount Rushmore, “We will
never surrender the spirit and the courage
and the cause of July 4th, 1776.” And
I hope that never happens.
As my husband oft en has said, “Evil
thrives when good people do nothing.”
We all must stand up for what is right or
we will no longer have a free America.
Eva Bedell, Bellerose
oped letters & comments
THE WHITESTONE BRIDGE AT SUNSET // PHOTO SUBMITTED BY ELIZABETH AKONG
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