Massachusetts Responders Line Up for Stimulus Aid

The governor of Massachusetts is acting to boost staffing of fire departments and police agencies across the state as hundreds of agencies file applications for $71 million in federal money by Aug. 21.

Municipal fire departments in Massachusetts have until Aug. 21 to apply for another $20 million in federal stimulus money designated by Gov. Deval Patrick, who noted the attrition those agencies are suffering when he announced the decision. Patrick urged city fire and police departments to apply by the deadline for $26 million in public safety funding Massachusetts is set to receive through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which supplements $45 million in previously committed ARRA funding to municipal police departments in the state.

"These funds will help local police and fire departments keep professionals on the job and the public's safety preserved," said Patrick, who promised to address staffing reductions in municipal police and fire departments through two competitive public safety grant programs: $5.9 million for police, $20 million for fire. His announcement said the state's Civil Service Division reports about 112 firefighters in 12 Massachusetts communities have been laid off and are on the rehire list, while 118 police officers in 11 communities have been laid off.

"The intent of the federal stimulus funding is to rehire as many of these public safety professionals as possible and to prevent further layoffs in other communities; address staffing reductions caused by attrition; and give communities flexibility in dealing with reduced public safety budgets," the announcement states. The application for funding online at http://www.mass.gov/eopss, the site of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

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