Mich. Mayor Accepts SAFER Grant, Avoids Jail Time

The mayor of Taylor, Mich. has opted to accept an $8.1 million SAFER grant after the threat of possible jail time for not doing so.

Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand notified The Detroit Free Press of his decision just hours before he was scheduled to appear in court for a contempt hearing.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Macdonald ordered Lamarand on Monday to accept the grant intended to rehire some of the 32 firefighters the city previously laid off.

Even though Lamarand accepted the grant, the hearing was still scheduled for Friday afternoon.

He said the fire union voted on a memorandum Thursday night requiring firefighters to use their accrued vacation time and sick time during the grant period so that the city can use the grant to pay the costs.

"This action will save the taxpayers $1.2 million that we could not fund or afford otherwise," he said in a statement.

The mayor previously argued that that the city doesn't have the money to pay its share of the costs associated with the federal grant including overtime, unemployment costs after the grant runs out and workman's compensation that extends beyond the two-year period.

"This is my standpoint," he told the newspaper earlier this week. "I'm not complying because I basically look at this as this is requesting me to falsify this process."

Taylor Fire Chief Bob Tompos told the newspaper that he hopes there is a solution so that his department -- which is stretched thin with only 28 firefighters -- can better respond to emergencies.

"We haven't gotten enough right now covering what we need to cover," he said. "We're going to work with whatever we have, and we're going to do the best job we can."