Atlantic City mayor will push to extend grant paying firefighters

Atlantic City needs to reapply for a federal grant currently paying the salaries of 79 firefighters, the mayor said Tuesday.
A July 5 notice from Division of Community Affairs Director Timothy Cunningham warns firefighters that their positions will be terminated when the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant ends. The affected firefighters would then have to reapply for a “limited number” of spots.
But Guardian said he will try to work with the state to allow the city to apply for an extension to the grant.
“It’s really important for us to be allowed to continue the SAFER grant,” he told BreakingAC on Tuesday. “The funding is there just for this purpose.”
Although the SAFER grant ends in September, the current money should last through October, Guardian said. While he couldn’t say what will happen in November and December, he’s hoping that there will at least be the opportunity to put in for another grant.
The state wanted to cut firefighter positions, but that is on hold as the fire union’s lawsuit against the state winds through court. Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez put a stay on any cuts. But that would not affect the SAFER grant, it seems.
Guardian said he expects that, with a reduction in the ranks, the number of positions covered by SAFER would shrink as well. But he still wants to at least have that option.
“We are going to do everything we can to try to rationally convince the state to let us at least apply,” he said.