A GoFundMe page has launched to help nearly three dozen Hoboken crossing guards and another 12 traffic controllers who have been “furloughed indefinitely” during the COVID-19 crisis.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“This fund is for Hoboken’s 32 crossing guards and 12 traffic controllers. They got their last paycheck this week and are now furloughed indefinitely,” Julie Kapsch wrote in the GoFundMe description.
“These folks help our kids get to and from school safely and in general ensure our pedestrians can navigate busy crosswalks safely. They are an integral part of our community. Please help them get through this trying time. Thank you for your generosity!”
As of 5:15 p.m. this evening, the campaign had raised $4,748 towards their $22,000 goal.
City spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri said that due to COVID-19 closing schools in favor of remote learning programs, the local government had few options despite the important role crossing guards play in the city.
“The cityâ€™s Crossing Guards provide an invaluable service to our community by assisting our children coming to and from our schools. Due to COVID-19 and schools not currently in session, the crossing guards are unfortunately not working at the present time,” he explained.
“Our hope is that things can go back to normal when it is safe to do so, and they will be brought back for their normal roles.”
The City of Hoboken had already been anticipating a multi-million dollar shortfall prior to the public health emergency, but the current set of circumstances accelerated the need for layoffs – with 26 set to take effect on May 7th.
Both the city’s municipal employees association and municipal supervisors association have voiced extreme discontent over the layoffs, with the latter writing a letter to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission in hopes of them intervening.
Neither the crossing guards or traffic controllers are part of the two aforementioned unions.