Deadline for SAFER grant pushed back

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – The deadline for the city to accept a $1.28 million grant that would pay the salaries of six firefighters has again been pushed back.

An Oct. 22 deadline the city gave Fire Chief Doug LaFond to accept the grant, provided he had a memorandum of understanding from the fire union to drop their daily minimum staffing levels from seven to five, came and went with no agreements between the city and the union.

An extension for the acceptance of the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant to Nov. 21 was granted.

The grant, awarded in late August, would pay the salary and benefits of six firefighters for the department, which currently has 23, five below its contractual minimum staffing levels.

The city currently is appealing a Wayne County Circuit judge’s ruling to hire five more firefighters.

When the council voted Oct. 16 to allow LaFond to accept the grant provided he had the MOU, LaFond said the grant could cut overtime from upwards of $300,000 a year to less than $100,000, as well as eliminate the court costs associated with the appeal.