Thread: R&r safer news

  1. #1
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    Last we heard was this a couple weeks ago.
    But it makes us wonder if we will be back to square one!

    SAFER Update

    Without question, it was good news on March 31 when DHS and FEMA released $55.8 million in SAFER grants.

    But as we scanned the list of departments that will receive these initial grants as part of the first round of funding, we had serious concerns about the process FEMA used to compile that list since we identified some grants that were released didn't fulfill the prioritization that we had developed last year.

    So we met with FEMA/DHS officials on Tuesday, April 6 to ask them why some departments that laid off firefighters weren’t getting grants in the first round.

    This was the issue – last year, when we as stakeholders decided, and DHS agreed/ that applications from departments should be ranked in the following priority: 1) departments with layoffs; 2) departments with reductions in force; and 3) departments that want to hire new personnel so they are NFPA compliant.

    But career FEMA officials appeared to ignore that newly adopted list of priorities that were agreed to. So we met with senior political FEMA/DHS officials.

    In our April 6 meeting, FEMA admitted that they ignored the new ranking system established by stakeholders.

    As you can imagine, we were stunned by that news. They had no sound defense for their decision to ignore what everyone had agreed to.

    More importantly as a follow up to the meeting DHS has assured us that FEMA will follow the prioritization as it was agreed to and departments with layoffs will now be given priority and receive SAFER funding first. Departments with reductions in force will be given second priority, and departments that want SAFER funding for new hires will be given.

    The system has been corrected, and more help is on the way to put our members back to work that were laid off and fill positions that have been RIFed during this current economic recession.

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    Default R&r safer news

    Has anyone got any news or movement on R&R for Safer??

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    The only thing missing from the update was the union letterhead.

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    wfd, where did that letter come from? FEMA wasn't making decisions after computer scoring handles apps and Peer made recommendations. Just like Ops apps, if Peer doesn't see what they need to see then apps don't get funded. This wasn't meant as a 2 year layoff reprieve, so if departments had no solid plans for keeping everyone after the free money let out then they weren't up for recommendation.

    Also the priority thing mentioned wasn't implemented. The priority is for meeting standards, no preference was given in rehire versus new positions. The only hard number was no less than 15% of the money had to go to new positions. Rehiring wasn't guaranteed anything if the case couldn't be made to prove that it wasn't a temporary rehire until the free money let out. If it wasn't a solution, wasn't going to get funded no matter what.

    Based on what I know from the Program Guidelines and other conversations the above wording you posted isn't accurate on the program development or priorities.

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    like lvfd said only thing missing was the union letterhead. it was posted on the iaff blog and sent to union members.

    everything we have been told since jan 2009 was this is exactly what it was going to go for from the start. to return laid off firefighters to work. this was one of the reasons for the delay in it coming out, and then the extension so that departments that were laying off could also participate. this isn't to say that all the funding was intended for this purpose.

    one of the large participants in this was an ohio senator whose district had a significant number of ff's laid off. our department has been reduced by 1/3 (75 - 51) in the last year and half, by years end we could be down to almost 40. without this we have no hope, we have a plan in place to not only keep them, but possibly hire more after. But we need this assistance to get us over the hump.

    Please believe I am skeptical about all this, especially when it comes from a politician, except the fact that we need our manpower back.
    Last edited by wfdfi501; 04-19-2010 at 05:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wfdfi501 View Post
    like lvfd said only thing missing was the union letterhead. it was posted on the iaff blog and sent to union members.

    everything we have been told since jan 2009 was this is exactly what it was going to go for from the start. to return laid off firefighters to work. this was one of the reasons for the delay in it coming out, and then the extension so that departments that were laying off could also participate. this isn't to say that all the funding was intended for this purpose.

    one of the large participants in this was an ohio senator whose district had a significant number of ff's laid off. our department has been reduced by 1/3 (75 - 51) in the last year and half, by years end we could be down to almost 40. without this we have no hope, we have a plan in place to not only keep them, but possibly hire more after. But we need this assistance to get us over the hump.

    Please believe I am skeptical about all this, especially when it comes from a politician, except the fact that we need our manpower back.
    It was widely know that getting laid off FF’s back to work was the top priority for the funding. Am I the only one that thinks some “some” cities laid them off just to get some free money from the fed’s to put them back to work instead of spending local funds. Just wondering and while I have this opportunity also wondering if those same cities laid off any of their police? In our town they are seven police (not counting their office staff) to one firefighter. We are the redheaded stepchild. Oh and forgot to mention that there budget is five times what ours is. Well that ought to stir things up a bit.

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    Rehiring was a priority, but since this was a Porkulus Bill related change the layoffs had to be within the right time range in order to qualify as a SAFER eligible rehire position. I doubt anyone dumped people just to make an attempt to get the fed money, the deadline to have the positions identified was prior to PG release. The extension to the app period was because of the change from 5 to 3 years, and also to clear up what was a rehire-eligible position since what was written wasn't exactly accurate to how it was for real. Kinda like the FSC Guidelines... But also with the change in Project Lifecycle and matching that required going back for municipal approval and that takes a while sometimes so since they moved the cheese they wanted ample time for people get clearance before applying, which is another reason so many SAFERs came back in the pot last year. And another one this year already....

    And true rehire was a priority, but many more applicants got left out because the hardship clause requires that anyone taking these positions back out within the performance period must also lay off from other departments within the local government. So if someone claims to have to cut costs by letting FFs go after being awarded they have to cut cops, streets, trash, admin, etc not just the FFs. In several areas the other unions loaded all up against the FFs so applications weren't submitted in some needy areas.

    And don't get me wrong, rehire is important. Heck, put in for over 100 positions for that this year, probably the same or more in new positions too. But being the long-term problem solver that I am, 2 years of free money just puts people back in the same spot. If the goal is improvement then it should remain a hand-up not a handout. Ye olde teach to fish versus giving a fish thing.

    Plus the other component is meeting the minimum staffing requirements. If the rehire count wasn't enough to make a decent enough dent as compared to other applications requiring less money to meet 1710 then it didn't score as high. Just like the regular AFG, least expensive solution to meet the same mark scores higher. Someone asking for 30 FFs won't score as high as someone only asking for 20 to meet the same mark if they're claiming the same % for meeting the requirements. There might be some bigger awards dumping, but not many since arguing that you can hold 30+ positions on Day 1 Year 3 doesn't have a solid base to say the money isn't there today without a lot of proof in the financial needs section. That gets run over harder in SAFER than AFG. Don't have the proof in the pudding, no pudding no matter what a politician claims. After all, it's the same thing every other politician is claiming for their district also. That's why I laughed at the Flint MI press release where Congresscritter took all the credit for it happening. Methinks at least someone from the department had a hand in writing a solid app since lobbying is technically illegal in all of these programs, even by a politician. Doing so would actually violate the law and invalidate the award, so while they take credit if they truly did something they'd be confessing to a crime. Not that it would stop some of them....

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfd701 View Post
    It was widely know that getting laid off FF’s back to work was the top priority for the funding. Am I the only one that thinks some “some” cities laid them off just to get some free money from the fed’s to put them back to work instead of spending local funds. Just wondering and while I have this opportunity also wondering if those same cities laid off any of their police? In our town they are seven police (not counting their office staff) to one firefighter. We are the redheaded stepchild. Oh and forgot to mention that there budget is five times what ours is. Well that ought to stir things up a bit.
    In our community we laid off both police and fire, actually police took a bigger hit than us. The police have been able to recover some of their laid off members through receiving grants. We also made significant concessions along with the police to prevent more layoffs. I am sure that their are communities that used questionable tactics to obtain funds though.

    I would have to say BC79 is pretty close here. However, the extension did look pretty shady on the surface. As for the politicians, rather not say anything, lets just say I have no faith in any of them regardless of party.

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