N.J. City Waits on Grant, Firefighters Get Notices

The City of Trenton issued layoff notices to 61 firefighters yesterday as it waits hear back about a $13.5 million SAFER grant it applied for earlier this year, according to The Times of Trenton.

If the city does not receive the federal funds, the layoffs will be executed by Jan. 5.

This news comes after Mayor Tony Mack promised last month that despite budget cuts, the jobs of firefighters would be spared.

Union President Wayne Wolk told the newspaper the layoff would result in the closing of four of the city's 11 stations.

"If you had one fire, it would bring every available truck in the city to that one fire. You wouldn't be able to answer any other calls."

He added that the city would be force to rely more on mutual aid, increasing response times.

City officials told the newspaper that they were forced to issues the layoff notices due to stipulations of the SAFER program. The program requires that applicants report the date the layoffs are supposed to take place and that those layoffs must take place within 90 days of that date, according to the report.

"We do not yet know what the official word is on the SAFER grant, but we do know that one of the qualifications is that a layoff plan must be taking place," Mack's spokesman Lauren Ira said.

The city expected to receive word on the grant in November, but FEMA has since delayed the announcement.