Salisbury Mayor Proposes Amendment to Save Up to 10 Lost Firefig - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Mayor Proposes Amendment to Save Up to 10 Lost Firefighter Jobs

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Salisbury Fire Department headquarters Salisbury Fire Department headquarters
 SALISBURY, Md.- Ten firefighters with the Salisbury Fire Department lost their jobs Friday after federal grant money ran out to pay their salaries. Mayor Jim Ireton is asking the City Council to consider a budget amendment that would fund four full-time jobs. The other positions would be part-time jobs.

In a statement Ireton said two full-time positions would be added to the fire department's headquarters in Salisbury. One will also work in Station One and the other in Station Two. The plan would cost the city $160,610 until the end of fiscal year 2015, which is June 30th.  City officials said the cost would be covered by surplus money.

Dennis Bose of Salisbury would like to see all ten firefighters get their full-time jobs back.

 " I don't think that's right. I think they should keep all 10 people on full-time," Bose said. "I think it's a shame. I'll tell you what, if it weren't for them, this whole world would be dead." 

Ireton was not available for an on-camera interview and did not grant permission for WBOC to speak with Fire Chief Rick Hoppes. In a statement, Ireton said "all of the safer grant officers have been hired either full-time or part-time positions. We are happy to have been able to keep them. That is all we have on the matter."

In 2012, the city of Salisbury received $1,038,921 in federal funding for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant to hire 12 firefighters for two years. Friday, that money ran out, and 10 of those positions went up in smoke. Overtime, two of the original 12 positions became permanent jobs that were funded by the city's budget.

Federal standards require fire stations to have four firefighters on each apparatus. City officials said some trucks only had three people,  two years ago, when the SAFER grant was sought.

Chief Hoppes will have to squeeze the salaries of those 10 firefighters in the department's budget for fiscal year 2016. 

The City Council will discuss the budget amendment at their meeting next week.


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