A local department was looking to hire 25 new firefighters last year but the economy took it's toll and has delayed this process considerably.

The department was just awarded SAFER funds for 30 new firefighters.

During the time from the application submittal last year to the grant being awarded last week, the department lost a dozen or so firefighters through regular attrition (no layoffs).

Will FEMA likely grant a waiver so that the department can hire 30 new firefighters, instead of 42 new firefighters?

As I read it, it seems the department would have to hire 12 new recruits to restore staffing levels before the SAFER grant would would pay for the 30.

FYI - The city currently has a $14 million budget deficit and is struggling to balance the budget. So, the argument could easily be made that there is extreme economic hardship.

Thanks for any and all opinions.