MILWAUKEE – With the COVID restriction easing more and more, many people are hoping to hit the pools and beaches of Milwaukee County this summer. But a staff shortage can prevent that from happening, county officials say.
âWe’re going through a crisis here,â Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman said.
Early on Tuesday, May 11, the Milwaukee County Parks, Energy and Environment Committee tackled staffing issues at the county’s pools and beaches.
âWe are behind where we would like to be in order to open all the facilities we would like and have been budgeted for – we are way behind in terms of recruiting lifeguards,â said James Tarantino, Director of Recreation and of Milwaukee County Parks Affairs. Services.
Simply put, there isn’t enough staff for everyone.
âIn general, in terms of all the lifeguards, we’re around 50, I mean it’s 52. To staff all the facilities in a typical year, we would need to be around 200,â he said. said Tarantino.
Supervisors say pandemic and rate of pay are factors.
âTwo of my colleagues recommended that we increase the amount we pay because of the amount of training required,â said supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez.
The county says it raised wages to a competitive level in 2019. But that may not be enough.
âWhere we’re at is only with the ability to open four maybe five facilities with that number of people that doesn’t include Bradford Beach,â Tarantino said.
Officials also say they do not yet know which locations will be open and closed. But they say one thing is clear.
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âWhat I would like to say is that we urgently need lifeguards. So if anyone wants to be part of the team and help save lives, keep our pools open and our beach saved – that would be great! We’re looking for people, âsaid Ortiz-Velez.
There is a lot of information available to become a lifeguard in Milwaukee County.