Lifeguard recruitment drive underway following summer bummer at NYC pools

Lifeguard recruitment drive underway following summer bummer at NYC pools

Town hopes to rent twice as many lifeguards this summer as final season, when a employees scarcity restricted swimming at public pools.

The parks division has made reforms to the lifeguard take a look at, which a metropolis watchdog mentioned was “unfair” and lacking transparency. The department launched a new recruitment campaign encouraging applicants to “join the team” and work at among the metropolis’s “most iconic locations.”

First Deputy Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa informed Gothamist in an interview Friday that the division was “very confident” that each one seashores and parks can be open this summer.

Final summer’s lifeguard scarcity grew so dire – with fewer than 800 folks employed for what is often a 1,400-person seasonal workforce – town provided a short lived 22% pay bump to $19.46 an hour to lure extra candidates. Pools have been unexpectedly closed, others had lengthy strains to get in resulting from decreased capability and free swim classes have been canceled.

The hourly wage will return this yr to $16.10 an hour, Rodriguez-Rosa mentioned, however she famous the pay “was subject to change.”

The parks division has mentioned its capability to maintain town’s pools and seashores open is dependent upon the variety of lifeguards it may possibly rent. Lifeguard protection fluctuates each day primarily based on headcounts.

Rodriguez-Rosa mentioned 1,400 lifeguards was “the ideal amount.”

Reforms to the lifeguard take a look at embody a brand new 45-second cutoff, up from the earlier requirement of 35 seconds. Candidates will now obtain the timed outcomes of their checks, in hopes those that miss the cutoff time will work on enhancing their velocity, Rodriguez-Rosa mentioned.

The lifeguard union has lengthy been criticized by metropolis oversight officers for mismanagement and dysfunction. The Division of Investigation mentioned in a 2021 report that the Parks Division didn’t train correct oversight of the lifeguard division, which suffered from a scarcity of transparency about “personnel and disciplinary practices.” The report cited “unfair administration of the qualifying swim test as a way to disfavor some candidates.”

Requires remark to the DC 37 Native 461 NYC Lifeguards and Native 508 Lifeguard Supervisors unions weren’t returned Friday.

Final summer, two folks drowned at Rockaway seashores on a single day in areas the place swimming was prohibited. A parks division official famous these deaths occurred when lifeguards weren’t on obligation.

The lifeguard scarcity was an issue that affected a 3rd of public pools across the nation, NPR reported, citing disruptions from the pandemic that led to expired certifications and a scarcity of coaching applications.

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