Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Massive Grant – $11.5 Million in FEMA Funding for Yonkers Fire Department to Hire 30 Additional Firefighters

Tribune Budget, Community, Emergency Services, Finance, Fire Department News, Governance, History, Politics, Yonkers, NY 44 Comments

 Funding Will Be Used To Hire 30 Yonkers Firefighters Saving the City & Department Millions in Overtime Costs 

Senators Say Yonkers Firefighters Have Worked Tirelessly Throughout The COVID-19 Pandemic, Clocking Over 6.5M In Overtime 

Schumer, Gillibrand: Federal Funding Will Help Put Out Budget Fire Facing Yonkers Fire Department 

Charles “Chuck” Schumer is United States Senate Minority Leader

U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 15, 2020 — U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $11,580,930 in federal funding for the City of Yonkers Fire Department to hire 30 additional firefighters. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program.

Specifically, the Senators explained, Yonkers Fire Department will fill 20 currently vacant positions and staff an additional 10 positions left open due to long term medical leave. This federal funding will help to relieve some of the financial stress that Yonkers has experienced due to additional overtime costs resulting from staffing shortages, vacant positions, and long term medical leaves.

“From the peak of the pandemic to normal times, our brave Yonkers firefighters are always on the front lines, risking their lives to protect their community,” said Senator Schumer. “These courageous first responders deserve all the federal support possible to help them do their jobs. I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our heroic firefighters, and I’m proud to deliver this funding so Yonkers Fire Department can hire 30 new desperately needed firefighters without bearing the financial stress.”

“New York’s first responders have worked tirelessly to keep our communities safe throughout the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As we enter fire season amidst a global pandemic, we must ensure our fire departments in Westchester have the resources needed to hire and retain firefighters. I will always fight to secure the funding our fire departments need to stay safe as they enter the line of duty.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano

“Many thanks to Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and the Department of Homeland Security for their commitment and advocacy of our Yonkers Fire Department,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “This SAFER grant will support the hiring of 30 new firefighters over the next three years, saving Yonkers taxpayers $3 million a year. Now more than ever, we need to invest in our essential workers who are on the frontlines and this funding assures our City can support them as well as our current firefighters,”said Mike Spano, Mayor of the City of Yonkers.

Barry McGoey, Esq., President of the I.A.F.F. Local 628.

“We are grateful that Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand were able to secure this critical funding for the Yonkers Firefighters. These federal dollars will help keep the Yonkers Fire Department whole and allow us to continue to provide the citizens of Yonkers with the premier fire and emergency response they deserve,” said Barry McGoey, President Yonkers Firefighters IAFF Local 628.

The funding comes as Yonkers Fire Department faces staffing vacancies from attrition, long term sick or injury leave, and absences due to COVID-19 collectively creating additional unexpected overtime costs over $6,500,000.00. The senators said that the federal funding announced today will be used to offset the need for additional overtime funding by expanding the Department to better serve the City of Yonkers. 

After hearing from the city and the department in June, both senators asked DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and FEMA Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor to fully fund Yonkers’ $11.5M proposal to hire 30 additional firefighters. The senators emphasized the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19 in Yonkers, New York’s fourth-largest city and one of the nation’s first hot spots for the virus. 

Senator Schumer’s letter to Secretary Wolf appears below: 

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by Yonkers Fire Department (YFD) for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program.

We are grateful that Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand were able to secure this critical funding for the Yonkers Firefighters. These federal dollars will help keep the Yonkers Fire Department whole and allow us to continue to provide the citizens of Yonkers with the premier fire and emergency response they deserve,” said Barry McGoey, President Yonkers Firefighters IAFF Local 628.  

The funding comes as Yonkers Fire Department faces staffing vacancies from attrition, long term sick or injury leave, and absences due to COVID-19 collectively creating additional unexpected overtime costs over $6,500,000.00. The senators said that the federal funding announced today will be used to offset the need for additional overtime funding by expanding the Department to better serve the City of Yonkers.

After hearing from the city and the department in June, both senators asked DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and FEMA Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor to fully fund Yonkers’ $11.5M proposal to hire 30 additional firefighters. The senators emphasized the devastating financial impacts of COVID-19 in Yonkers, New York’s fourth-largest city and one of the nation’s first hot spots for the virus.

Senator Schumer’s letter to Secretary Wolf appears below:

Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by Yonkers Fire Department (YFD) for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program.

Located in Westchester County, New York, Yonkers is the fourth largest city in New York State with 210,000 residents across 21 square miles. The YFD has faced several major impacts to their budget recently, from a 20% reduction in state aid to lost hotel and sales tax revenues, combined with increased overtime from staffing vacancies.

With new developments, an increase in population and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, YFD has seen a dramatic increase in call volume, along with new risks. Without SAFER Grant funding, YFD will be unable to maintain a modern, adequately trained and equipped fire department.

I applaud the Yonkers Fire Department for its foresight, and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval. 

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.

Sincerely,

Senator Gillibrand’s letter to Administrator Gaynor appears below:

Dear Administrator Gaynor,

I write in support of the application submitted by the Yonkers Fire Department (YFD) for funding from Staffing for the Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program through Federal Emergency Management Agency. The requested funding will be used to hire and fund the employment of 30 new firefighters.

With new developments, an increase in population and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, YFD has seen a dramatic increase in call volume, along with new risks. Without SAFER Grant funding, YFD will be unable to maintain a modern, adequately trained and equipped fire department. 

I applaud the Yonkers Fire Department for its foresight, and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval. 

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Coordinator in my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.

Sincerely,

SOURCES: Allison Biasotti (Schumer), and Miriam Cash (Gillibrand).

TribuneSchumer, Gillibrand Announce Massive Grant – $11.5 Million in FEMA Funding for Yonkers Fire Department to Hire 30 Additional Firefighters

Comments 44

  1. Funny, 99 % all the ” PAID ” Yonkers firefighters live in , 1,000 % (percent) Volunteer
    Fire Dept Towns.
    HHHMMMMM !
    Less Taxes , that’s why………….

    1. They should put a 5 point residency credit for all promotional FD exams…then we’ll see how many 50 year olds all of a sudden move back to grandmas house…

  2. The commenter below who mentioned something about a tire shop is obviously a firefighter or a cop and provides a perfect illustration of the sense of entitlement and condescension on the part of YFD and YPD, who expect unquestioned obedience from Yonkers taxpayers whenever the issue of salaries and pensions comes up.

    This isn’t a tire shop – it’s a city with multi-million holes in its budget each year, deficits that have now been made worse by the confluence of a pandemic, an inept government and greedy unions.

    A normal city full of proverbial “adults in the room” would immediately institute a hiring freeze as well as a freeze on salary increases among public workers. An independent audit would then be conducted. One finding would show that Yonkers public workers, particularly those who put out fires or arrest people, are, by any metric, overpaid and that they cannot justify the money that they are given based on the work that they perform.

    Instead, we have politicians and the YFD trying to pass off new hires in a bankrupt city under the smokescreen of a one-time, fixed-term grant from the federal government. An when those federal (taxpayer) funds run dry in three years, guess who is on the hook for these 30 new salaries as well as any retirees and their pensions? You got it. It’s not the cops and firefighters of our fair city who retreat to the sticks each day and each night. It’s the people who have an actual vested interest in the city – the homeowners and other people who actually live in this city.

    I always laugh to myself when I see homeowners with signs “We support police and firefighters” on their lawns. It’s a form of Stockholm syndrome. These cops and firefighters are the very people that have been robbing actual Yonkersites blind for decades.

    Hezi, why don’t you publish that long list of cop and firefighter six-figure salaries and let everyone decide whether so many deserve so much when the city has so little?

  3. I won’t be voting for anyone of these losers again, pulling funding out of their asses at the last minute just before an election. This is what corruption looks like, buying voters. Learned this by living in Yonkers.

      1. A lot of people are leaving Yonkers, look at the leadership. Wake up. Need more Barry’s to save Yonkers. Thank God he is still in town working hard everyday. Good night to you!

  4. If everyone approached their job as seriously as Barry,this city wouldnt be where they are.You can all say your negative BS,but when it comes to doing your homework,knowing the system,and realizing what needs to be done..you.cant come near Barry.This is without kissingthe ring…so say what you want..he got this city 11.5million all by his fuckin self.So before you comment do your homework, you’ll see…628 Proud

    1. No, he just cost a bankrupt city an additional $3 million a year for the next 20-30 years. He is a major part of the problem just like all of the other overpaid, unnecessary union bosses and their minions here.

          1. I don’t think so. I think its Dobbs Ferry. When one applies for a position with the YFD and/or YPD you must reside in Yonkers. It has been long known that some people use a relative’s address while they live elsewhere. Even though such addresses are supposed to be checked, they haven’t been checked for years. But remember that after a certain number of years “residing in Yonkers” is not required. One is then permitted to reside elsewhere. So if anyone should take the fall for that, blame Yonkers past mayors, and blame the City again for not reversing the residency statute. There is a correlation between your employment and Where you reside and where you spend the earnings you receive. The paycheck is earned in Yonkers, but purchases are made predominately where you reside. Food, restaurants, clothing, automobiles, refrigerator, ovens, air conditioners, you get the drift. For all intent and purpose, services rendered in Yonkers by those who reside elsewhere spend little in Yonkers and spend the majority of their earnings where they reside. Unfortunately, no one in government has any interest in changing the residency requirement. Government in Yonkers, from the Office of the Mayor to the Office of the City Council have yet to figure it out. So whether it is Ardsley or Dobbs Ferry, the point is that Yonkers has hurt and undermined its financial capacity for not hiring employees who are required to reside in Yonkers to maintain their employment. If people want to live elsewhere, they would then need to decide if they want to live and work and even play Yonkers or work, reside, and play elsewhere. — Kindly, Hezi.

  5. So Yonkers Fire is exempt from any layoffs, and they are adding 30 positions while other unions on the frontline during the pandemic within yonkers, and other municipalities are subject still to possible layoffs? No other unions suffered sickness and loss?

    1. I guess those other “unions” should get themselves their own Barry instead of self-serving self-interested buffoons. Thanks Barry. You da man !

  6. Spano says: “This SAFER grant will support the hiring of 30 new firefighters over the next three years, saving Yonkers taxpayers $3 million a year.”

    And after three years time, these six-figure salaries for 30 new hires will be on the Yonkers books for DECADES after which point they will morph into expensive pensions for DECADES more. You morons just added to our budget problems. Good job, saddle us with more debt and higher property taxes to pay for more overpaid and unnecessary “public servants.” What a joke.

    1. Hit the nail on the head. If these 30 new hires all earn $100k/year at some point (and they will), then Yonkers will be *spending* $3 million each year just to cover these new salaries. What a shitshow.

    2. You are obviously jealous or angry. Any dept(s) need to replace retired workers. If you worked in the tire shop and there was 5 guys and 3 retired you would have to hire 3 new guys. How does it work at your job? Go lay down, The adults are talking.

    1. Hezi do you know if the FD will allow for the hiring of a spano crook with this grant?

      What a disgrace for everyone, hard-working honest member of the YFD. BARRY please protect your men and every Yonkers citizen from this kmown burgular!!!

      An all time low, even from this administration

  7. Spano can’t seem to do basic math.
    It’s. no wonder why Yonkers can’t balance its budget.

    11.5 / 3 = 3.8
    or almost $4,000,000 per year

    I guess Mike was the one called Dumbo.

  8. Where’s Barry’s picture? He did it it all from inception to award. These 2 blowhards just taking credit like politicians always do. Why can’t they sit down and negotiate with the President to get money for teachers, cops, DPW and others? Because those groups don’t have a Barry to do the real heavy lifting.

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