Taylor mayor still fighting federal fire grant, may go to jail - KMSP-TV

Taylor mayor still fighting federal fire grant, may go to jail

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Jeffrey Lamarand  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Jeffrey Lamarand (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
TAYLOR, Mich. (WJBK) -

"We're preparing unfortunately for what may come," Jeffrey Lamarand said Wednesday.

Jail is real possibility the Taylor mayor.  If Lamarand doesn't follow a judge's order to accept an $8.1 million federal SAFER grant that would bring back 32 laid off firefighters, on Friday he's expected to be held in contempt.

"Basically what I'm being asked to do is to comply with this order, sign off on the insurance and say, 'Sure, maybe we can cover all the costs.  I'll sign off on it even though I don't think that we can.'"

"This mayor blatantly disregards any resolution, any court order, and our health and well-being is in jeopardy here," said Paul Battistone.

"It's not about the acronym SAFER.  It's about money and what can they politically do to insult the mayor.  So, therefore, I'm opposed to it until they find out more," said Roseanna Hammons.

A divisive issue that became even more of a politically fueled battle after the Taylor City Council passed a resolution forcing the mayor to accept the SAFER grant.  Lamarand fought it, but a Wayne County Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the council.

"I have no interest in him going to jail.  The only thing I'm interested in is the safety of 63,000 residents in this town.  If he decides that he wants to be a martyr, I would recommend that he become a martyr for the good of all the people of the town, not for a political cause," said Councilman John Delo.

Lamarand says he's trying to protect your tax dollars, worried about what the grant doesn't cover like pensions and healthcare and what it will cost down the road.  His critics are concerned about the here and now, your safety and longer response times and lower staffing levels.

Even with the recent rehires, Taylor has only 27 firefighters.  Before the cutbacks and privatization of EMS, there were 60 firefighters on staff.

We're told there are some last minute negotiations if the laid off firefighters are willing to give up more contractually.  Taking away the financial burden for the city, the mayor would be willing to take the grant, but until then, he plans to fight it, even if it means going to jail.

"I think what's really been lost is as an administration, we're being stripped of the ability to do our job," said Lamarand.

Since the mayor did not meet the 24 hour deadline that the judge set, we're told he's expected to face that judge on Friday.

UPDATE: Fox 2 has learned Mayor Lamarand has decided to accept the SAFER grant on Friday.

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