MKE County: Pay Raise, Bonuses Proposed to Address Lifeguard Shortage

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Bradford Beach, July 25th, 2009. Photo by Dave Reid.

Bradford Beach, July 25th, 2009. File photograph by Dave Reid.

In effect to the lifeguard shortage successful Milwaukee County, the Board of Supervisors is advancing authorities to summation wage and connection bonuses to summation recruitment and retention.

In May, arsenic the region Parks Department’s grooming sessions for lifeguards were wrapping up, the section reported to the region committee that it was facing a terrible lifeguard shortage.

By aboriginal June, it had betwixt 70 and 80 guards. But with fewer returning guards, and nary with formation experience, it announced that Bradford Beach would spell unguarded and lone 4 nationalist pools would unfastened for the summer.

It’s not conscionable Milwaukee that’s having occupation uncovering lifeguards. There’s a nationalist shortage. The cause, locally and crossed the country, isn’t easy attributable to a azygous factor.

The region has seen its lifeguard numbers steadily declining successful caller years. But the COVID-19 pandemic was a large origin successful the terrible shortage successful 2021.

County pools were closed and beaches went unguarded past year, cutting disconnected the yearly instrumentality of lifeguards for what is simply a seasonal job. The pandemic besides cancelled grooming and recertification classes successful 2020, disrupting the pipeline for caller oregon returning lifeguards.

Increasing compensation, however, was discussed by supervisors arsenic a imaginable remedy to the shortage locally.

A caller solution sponsored by Sup. Eddie Cullen authorizes the Parks Department to bump up hourly wages for lifeguards astatine each wage grade, opening with a $15 an hr starting wage. It besides authorizes a bid of bonuses including a $100 referral bonus, a $200 monthly bonus paid retired astatine the extremity of the play and a $200 instrumentality bonus.

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The solution states, “Changes to compensation and grooming are indispensable to pull and clasp caller and existing lifeguards.”

The board’s Personnel Committee unanimously approved the solution Friday. It volition spell earlier the afloat committee aboriginal this month.

The summation successful wage and bonuses volition outgo the section much than $124,000 successful 2021 and much than $380,000 successful 2022.

James Tarantino, manager of concern services for the parks department, said the resolution, if passed, would not person immoderate interaction connected the excavation closures oregon deficiency of lifeguards during the 2021 season, adding, “This all, hopefully volition carnivore effect successful summertime 2022.”

Tarantino said the retention bonus “certainly should assistance successful bringing radical backmost adjacent year.”

The deficiency of lifeguards is some a nationalist information contented and a prime of beingness issue.

Pools and beaches are “highly valued amenities” the solution notes, and utilizing them is “an important recreation enactment for galore families.”

There were 3 drownings astatine McKinley Beach successful 2020. The formation doesn’t person posted lifeguards, adjacent during a mean year, but they nevertheless underscore the request for lifeguards connected Lake Michigan.

They were mentioned successful the resolution, which stated, “Despite respective high-profile drowning deaths successful 2020, nary lifeguards are disposable to unit Bradford oregon McKinley Beaches, mostly owed to the deficiency of individuals qualified for unfastened h2o lifeguarding.”

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