Snow covers the ground, temperatures have hit below zero, and the time for jumping in a pool is still six months away. Despite all of that, the city spent some time at its December 18, 2017 meeting to jump into, or discuss the pool, specifically the lifeguard shortage for the upcoming season.
Currently, the Greenbush Pool has just one lifeguard returning for the 2018 season. City Clerk Anita Locken said the city would have to do much lifeguard recruiting this coming year.
While speaking on the lifeguard shortage and recruitment, Locken mentioned how she didn’t know if increasing wages would entice people in terms of lifeguard recruitment. Earlier on, she mentioned how the city had to make a required increase to the minimum wage of $9.65—a 50 cent increase. This increase would apply to not only the pool, but cleaning and public works wages.
Council member Scott Waage questioned if this 50-cent increase would be enough to entice applicants. Mayor Brenda Sather first mentioned how the city would have to discuss sign on bonuses more and examine what it’s going to do with wages. The city, as Sather said, does already reimburse potential lifeguards for the cost of training.
Speaking of training, Locken said potential lifeguards must be 15 years old to achieve their lifeguard certification and 16 years old to achieve their Water Safety Certification (WSI). Pool managers don’t need to be certified lifeguards, but must be 18 years old. Per day, the pool needs three guards to cover eight hours.
Given the recent investments put into the new city pool, Waage said, “Let’s do something.”
Sather asked if the council was comfortable moving forward with the 50-cent required increase, reviewing the number of future applicants, gauging competitive wages, and then, if it doesn’t get enough interest, looking at different options to entice more applicants. The city agreed to move forward with that route.
To see more from this city meeting, read the December 27 issue of The Tribune in print or online.