Eight probationary firefighters and one police officer could be appointed this week in Danville. Two of the fire department hires are replacements for recent retirees, but the six others will be funded in large part by a grant of more than $1 million. This would be a boost to a fire department that has dwindled over recent times. The reductions have been by attrition and is done by city leaders to control costs. But, as numbers have decreased, overtime has risen sharply, with off-duty firefighters working extra hours to meet negotiated requirements of minimum staffing.
The grant pays about 75 percent of the annual cost of six positions for two years and 35 percent the third year. After that, the whole tab is on the city. But aldermen who approved the grant hope the city is in a financial position three years from now that it can afford retaining them. The city has applied for another federal grant that would help with costs to equip the six grant-funded firefighters.
The new police officer is for a replacement. The Danville Board of Fire and Police Commissioners is meeting tomorrow in City hall to discuss the hirings.