Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana
June 25, 2010
Kokomo will rehire 13 firefighters
$1.9 million federal grant will cover
employment costs for two years
By KEN de la BASTIDE
Tribune enterprise editor
Kokomo — The city of Kokomo has received
a $1.9 million federal grant that will allow the fire department to
rehire 13 firefighters.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and
Emergency Response grant was
announced Friday by Rep. Joe Donnelly,
D-2nd District. Funding for the SAFER grant program comes through the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Donnelly supported in
“I’m happy the Kokomo Fire Department
will be able to put 13 more brave firefighters back to work protecting
the community,” Donnelly said. “This is a perfect example of the
ongoing investments in our Hoosier work force made by the Recovery Act.
Not only are these funds putting people back to work, they are
investing in the Kokomo community and making it a safer place to live.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
administers the funding directly to fire departments to rehire laid-off
firefighters or to fill positions that were left vacant due to economic
challenges faced by local governments between January 1, 2008, and
October 31, 2009. Kokomo laid off 12 firefighters as a cost-cutting
measure in May 2009.
Rick Daily, president of Firefighters
Local 396, said the grant is good news for firefighters and city
“This is about firefighters and safety
of the community,” Daily said.
He said the Kokomo Fire Department is
currently staffed with 103 firefighters with 10 additional firefighters
remaining on layoff. Daily said, with the grant funding, the city could
increase the size of the department.
Daily said he was unsure when the
firefighters would return to work because the city was awaiting the
guidelines from the federal government.
SAFER grants directly fund fire
departments to help them increase the number of trained, “front-line”
firefighters available in their communities. The grant will cover 100
percent of the costs to rehire 13 firefighters for two years.
By accepting the federal funding, the
city of Kokomo agreed to provide the funding for a third year of
“Securing the SAFER grant results in the
largest increase in public safety in recent history,” said Kokomo Fire
Chief Pat O’Neill. “This program will enable me to better utilize my