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Thread: Safer - Hiring

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Default Safer - Hiring

    ok... Story is, the SAFER this year will be fully funded for 4 years, meaning
    no sliding scale match for hiring - UNTIL the 5th year.

    If I understand this - the department must fully fund year 5. What about
    after that?

    Am I correct in my statements?


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    Also it sounds like SAFER will be allowed to be used to pay firefighters who would otherwise be laid off, not just to add staffing.

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    As I understand it you are correct. BUT there is one thing I haven't seen addressed. The cap still is around 111,000 (+ inflation costs) per position which won't fund the position for 4 years.

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    That's because it's only a 2 year no match. Local funding owes Years 3-5.

    The layoff thing is so far a bad rumor since prior year's made departments with vacancies fill them before hiring SAFER positions, and anyone with budgets being cut/laying off were also not eligible. So far that part isn't changing. That's why the match is only 1/3rd over the 5 year plan (normally), because everyone needs a boost once in a while to handle rapid growth, but personnnel is mainly a local issue.

    Day 1 Year 6 the pink slips can come out, and so far many have been scheduled for those awarded in 2005. I know plenty that are applying for hiring knowing full well they'll be laying off the positions after their SAFER Period of Performance is over. Short-term it works great, long-term failure. That's why they got rid of the COPS program way back when. Same thing there, this year's COPS was 3 years no match and many depts again know full well that layoffs will appear as soon as the federal money runs out and they can pink slip them.

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    Default The IAFF does not think its a bad rumor.

    New Rules Allow SAFER Grants to Prevent Layoffs, Restore Cuts

    June 18, 2009 – Congress has voted to allow the use of federal funding to rehire laid off fire fighters and prevent fire department staffing reductions. The new rules for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants make funding available to help keep IAFF members safe and on the job and bring back those who have been laid off as a result of the current financial crisis. The bill is now on its way to the White House.

    "The IAFF made it an urgent priority to pass this proposal to waive current requirements and allow SAFER grants to be used to save our members' jobs and restore cuts made to staffing," says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. "With the passage of this waiver, fire departments can use this money to prevent layoffs and ensure adequate staffing."

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano agreed to postpone the 2009 application process for SAFER grants until the new waiver authority is in place. This assures that the $210 million that Congress appropriated for SAFER can be used to address the current wave of staffing cuts. The IAFF is working with DHS to establish the new rules and will post information on the application period as soon as it is available.

    The IAFF strongly urges affiliates to work with their fire departments to apply for SAFER money. "As we all know, adequate staffing is critical to effective response and fire fighter and public safety," says Schaitberger.

    Under the original law — passed in 2004 — communities could only receive a SAFER grant if they planned to increase fire department staffing levels. Fire fighters hired with SAFER grants had to be retained for at least five years, and the fire department couldn’t reduce staffing levels during this period. These restrictions have combined to prohibit fire departments from using SAFER grants to prevent layoffs, and have discouraged fire departments from applying for SAFER grants during this current economic recession.

    The rule changes eliminate the language that has prevented using this money to alleviate the need to lay off a fire fighter. In addition, President Obama is proposing $420 million for SAFER in his Fiscal Year 2010 budget. This critically needed funding will continue to help ease the pressure on fire department budgets in communities across the nation.

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    Hence my statement "so far". And still valid since it hasn't passed yet. Seen the emails and the chatter on it, but until it's fact I don't want people planning on something that might not happen. Same reason I'm telling people not to bypass the station grants since there are no plans for a 2010 program, and AFG goes away after 2010 altogether since no new legislation has passed to extend it. The Committee has recommended that the full Congress pass the law to extend it through 2015, and all the reps I have had contact with are in favor of it, but until it's done no one should make their long range plans of solving deficiencies with grant programs that aren't set yet.

    And while a nice thing to help avoid the layoffs again it's a band-aid. Only $189 mil for hiring in 2009 since 10% still has to go to R&R, so that's not that many jobs. Plus it's still 100% in Year 5. That's the Year of the grant that keeps people from applying, not the layoff part. Money for personnel that comes from non-local sources is still a short-term solution no matter how it's sliced, so whoever is chasing this for their layoff solution better figure out how to make it work from Year 5 on. As the economy recovers they won't keep this change in the program. And a review panel 5 years from now won't take sympathy on a department trying to keep their SAFER hired people employed with another SAFER grant. Same reason no one that got new gear or SCBA or anything else with an AFG won't get that gear replaced with any likelihood either.

    Don't get me wrong, I'll still be writing boatloads of these, hit 75% of the 2008 apps we wrote which increases the workload for us but we're game. But I still tell everyone grants are not a way to run an organization and remain stable, it's to fill temporary gaps. The piper has to be paid eventually.

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    New SAFER Rules for Retaining Firefighters


    Posted: 06-24-2009

    President Obama today approved new rules that govern how fire departments can use funding from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, an important change during an economic crisis that is responsible for widespread layoffs of fire fighters throughout the country.

    The new guidelines will apply to the $210 million that Congress approved for SAFER for Fiscal Year 2009. The IAFF wrote and lobbied for the new provision that was included in HR 2346, the Supplemental Appropriation bill - which was initiated and supported by President Obama - to allow the use of SAFER grant funding to rehire laid-off fire fighters and prevent fire department staffing reductions that occurred as a result of the current financial crisis.

    With its passage, the bill grants Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano the discretion to waive the rules governing the current SAFER program and make funds available to save IAFF members' jobs. The IAFF will immediately begin working with DHS to develop new rules that outline how SAFER grants can be used to address the current wave of staffing cuts.

    "Changes in this supplemental appropriation extend a lifeline to fire departments across the nation at a time when fire fighters are losing their jobs," International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold Schaitberger said. "Adequate staffing is the most critical component to effective response and civilian and fire fighter safety."

    The SAFER Act provides money for all departments to increase staffing, which is the most pressing need among all departments across the country. The funding is available to all fire departments. Under the original law, passed in 2004, communities could only receive a SAFER grant if they planned to increase fire department staffing levels. Fire fighters hired with SAFER grants had to be retained for at least five years and fire department couldn't reduce staffing levels during this period. Those restrictions have combined to prohibit fire departments from using SAFER grants to prevent layoffs, and have discouraged fire departments from applying for SAFER grants during this current economic recession.

    The rule changes approved today by the president eliminate the language that has prevented using this money to alleviate the need to lay off a fire fighter. In addition, President Obama is proposing $420 million for SAFER in his Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

    The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, is the leading advocate in North America for the safety and training of fire fighters and paramedics. The IAFF represents more than 295,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect communities in every state in the United States and in Canada. More information is available at www.iaff.org

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    The fun part will be seeing whether they work to keep jobs or bring back the ones already laid off. Anyone can claim that 'layoffs are coming' but proof being in the pudding those that had to lay off last year should score higher IMHO. Just like anyone that has a health department complaint dated after February on their station grant doesn't count, anyone that laid people off since the Stimulus Bill shouldn't score high either. Heard from a few places where they laid off people thinking they we going to rehire with the Stimulus money that hadn't been printed yet.

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    I also like how it stesses how it will save IAFF jobs, not firefighter jobs...

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    Tough part is convincing the municipalities to apply even with the changes done. Once cutbacks happen they tend to stick so the interesting part will be seeing what cities decide to apply since they control the application process. All the 2008 turndowns I know about were done because of the 5 year obligation, changing this or eliminating the first two years of match won't change that outcome. 2010 will bring more money to a program that can't give out half that amount. Will be a lot of R&R apps in 2009 and 2010, plus a lot of hiring 1-5 FFs in smaller areas that can afford the matching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WJVaughn View Post
    I also like how it stesses how it will save IAFF jobs, not firefighter jobs...
    That's just because it's IAFF propaganda that they wrote. They like to give themselves as much credit as possible when they post those stories on their website and email it out to members. Not that it's a bad thing, just basic marketing; "Here's what you're getting for your membership dues."

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    I believe the IAFF is a very strong force in DC when it comes to fire fighters issues. I know that the Vice President was at there biannual convention in Las Vegas last year right before the announcement of him being the running mate to Obama.

    How many volunteer fire associations have that kind of relationships with the head of this great country?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyMan29 View Post
    I believe the IAFF is a very strong force in DC when it comes to fire fighters issues. I know that the Vice President was at there biannual convention in Las Vegas last year right before the announcement of him being the running mate to Obama.

    How many volunteer fire associations have that kind of relationships with the head of this great country?
    Not to get into a political discussion, but yes, with this congress and this administration (unions tend to have good relationships with the Dems), the IAFF has a good relationship with our country's leaders.

    I don't believe the same could be said with the last administration. Remember when President Bush pushed for volunteerism and the stink it caused with the IAFF when he wanted legislation that protected those who volunteered on the side?

    But, there are several other organizations that influence DC on firefighter issues, too. IAFC, NVFC, CFSI, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    That's just because it's IAFF propaganda that they wrote. They like to give themselves as much credit as possible when they post those stories on their website and email it out to members. Not that it's a bad thing, just basic marketing; "Here's what you're getting for your membership dues."

    Funny how those who aren't in Unions are always willing to accept legislation fought for by those in Unions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOFIRE View Post
    Funny how those who aren't in Unions are always willing to accept legislation fought for by those in Unions.
    I hope you're not referring to me, as I'm a card-carrying IAFF member. I also hope you don't think the IAFF is the only one that fought for said legislation.

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    No I am not referring to you, I am referring to people in general.

    I understand that not only the IAFF fought for the legislation. Its just that the IAFF has the most money, and thus the most influence to throw at it.

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