The Alton Fire Chief has been approved to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant, but even if the city wins, it may not get to use the money. The grant would pay for full salary and benefits for four firefighters for two years, but the current firefighters’ union contract expires in March of 2018, which could be problematic.
Alton Fire Chief Berie Sebold tells The Big Z that would create a gap of 8 – 9 months between the expiration of the grant and the end of the contract.
Click here for Sebold's comments
That would get the department to 48 firefighters. While the grant does not require the department to keep the firefighters on board after the grant expires, the current city contract does not permit layoffs. Sebold says they anticipate 4 – 6 retirements over the next couple of years. The deadline to apply for the grant is March 6.