Officials: Stamford Hired Firefighters Without Approval

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Stamford received a grant to hire 8 firefighters from the federal government, but the Board of Representatives has yet to approve the grant. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford officials expressed their unhappiness Tuesday night that eight of the 23 firefighters recently hired by Stamford were given jobs before funding was approved. 

“I may have jumped the gun,” Stamford Director of Administration Michael Handler said Tuesday night as he apologized to the city's Board of Representatives’ Fiscal Committee.

The city was awarded a federal grant worth close to $1 million to add eight firefighters, spurring Handler to make the hires, which were announced in September. Tuesday night, the Board of Representatives voted against approving the grant.

“I have never seen anyone hired so quickly in my life,” Mary Fedeli (R-17) said.

“I just don’t know how we allow that type of thing to happen,” said Ralph Loglisci (R-13), adding that he was upset with how people’s lives were being used.

The $988,848 grant for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response was awarded in July to pay the firefighters' salary, insurance and the medical portion of social security for two years. After two years, the city could either add the firefighters into the budget or let them go, which they knew when hired, Handler said.

Peter Privitera, director of the Office of Policy Management, said hiring the eight firefighters will save the city about $900,000 in overtime cost this year alone. He added that, with attrition, in two years the firefighters could be added without increasing the city budget.

The other 15 firefighters hired were accounted for in the Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget for the city.

Acceptance of the grant can be put back on the board’s agenda for next month.

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How dare you hire firefighters at no cost to the city?

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