SAN JOSE (KCBS) –San Jose’s new budget was a big blow to public safety services, with over 100 police officers being laid off. But it’s better news for the fire department, which is now rehiring nearly 50 firefighters thanks to money from the Feds.

”Today is an exciting day for the San Jose Fire Department, and for the city,” said San Jose Fire Captain Mary Gutierrez.

She said that the 49 firefighters who were laid off last year due to budget cuts are now being asked to rejoin the department.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

”Many of our firefighters were picked up by other organizations, so that will be interesting to see how that plays out, but we’re hoping to get as many back as we can,” said Gutierrez.

This rehire was made possible by a federal ‘Safer’ grant from FEMA, which covers the firefighters pay and benefits for up to two years. There are some expenses that the cash-strapped city will have to cover though.

”We’ll have to pay for their equipment and some of the other incidental things such as training, or retraining,” said Ron D’Acchioli, the department’s deputy director of administrative services.

He said that after two years, everyone is hoping that the city will be in much better financial shape so they’ll be able to keep the rookie firefighters on a more permanent basis.

The first 36 firefighters will be certified next month. Which engine company will get them has yet to be determined.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Garry Rooks says:

    That’s just great! Now the federal government gets to support local firefighters salaries and benefits, from FEMA no less. I bet those people who suffered through tornados and hurricanes are wondering where the money is going, oh, that would be to San Jose. They have an emergency, they can’t stop the spending, and they negotiate lucrative union contracts with firefighters so they need to be rescued by FEMA. This is better government at work, you know that ” hope and change” thing. How is that working out for you in the private sector?

  2. Hoang says:

    Wonderful and relief to hear this! Now, if only we could reverse the police layoffs…

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