As municipal budgets are still being slashed, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program has become a life line for IAFF locals to retain adequate staffing levels.
Some politicians don’t see it that way.
Take for instance Danbury, Connecticut Mayor Mark Boughton, a “rising star” in Republican circles in the state and is viewed as a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2014.
The mayor recently rejected a $2.1 million SAFER grant because the “legacy” costs under the fire department’s old contract would be too expensive, he says.
Danbury fire fighters say this is a bunch of baloney. They say the mayor is trying to get back at them for not ratifying a new contract.
Danbury Professional Fire Fighters Local 801 president Lou DeMici says the issues are separate.
SAFER grants put 3,000 fire fighters to work last year. President Obama recently announced $320 million in federal funding for the SAFER program that would give preference to communities recruiting and hiring post 9/11 veterans.
In Danbury, 14 fire fighters could have been hired under the grant.
What do you think of Mayor Boughton’s decision to reject SAFER? Do his actions reflect a political friend or foe?