West Jefferson village council passed an emergency ordinance during its regular meeting Monday night to increase the number of certified emergency staff by two at the West Jefferson village pool.
The new ordinance added the position of certified lifeguard instructor and swimming lesson instructor, and set the salary scale for both. More certified lifeguards are needed to keep the pool open to the public, said Parks and Recreation director Dave Metzger.
“We have run into some issues early as to not having enough lifeguards,” Metzger said. “We only have seven certified lifeguards and this is the best way to get lifeguards trained. We checked around and $25 an hour is cheaper than if they had to go through Red Cross training.”
About 14 people had wanted to become certified as a lifeguard to work at the pool this summer, but about half of the group could not afford the $250 to $275 fee it would cost to go through training, Metzger said.
One of the village’s pool managers is certified to teach the certified lifeguard training, and the $25 an hour rate is below what they would earn to be a teacher elsewhere, he said.
“This is the most economical way to get people in the (lifeguard) chairs,” Metzger said. “My goal is to get enough guards in the chairs to operate the pool.”
Metzger also wants the lifeguard candidates to sign a contract stating if they do not pass the class — or decide not to work as a lifeguard after taking the training — they would reimburse the village for the cost of their training, something that Metzger said the American Red Cross also does.
“Also, at the end of the year, we will be able to certify our lifeguards for next year,” Metzger said. “We won’t have to wait for lifeguards to be re-certified.”
Council member Cory Coburn had reservations about paying $25 an hour when the village employs workers with five years of experience at specialized positions at the water treatment plant.
As for providing swimming lessons, Metzger said training more young people to be able to safely swim will also add more swimmers to the pool.
The cost of the lessons, $20 for four sessions, would pay for the cost of the instruction, he said.
Council passed the ordinance by a 6-1 vote, with Coburn voting against the ordinance.
Another ordinance was passed, as an emergency, to approve current replacement pages to the West Jefferson Codified Ordinances.
“It’s been a while since we’ve updated the codified ordinances,” said Finance Director Jack Herrel. “They (police department) want to hurry it up and get things done as there have been a lot of changes for the police department. This is for 2012, since it’s been a while since we’ve updated these.”
In other business, Mayor Darlene Steele said she recently attended a 25th anniversary celebration for Jefferson Industries Corporation. The company, which manufactures automobile components, was the first large company to open a facility on state Route 29, which has since become a destination for many large companies.
“They had a nice program for their 25th anniversary and at the end of it they donated $25,000 to be split between the police department and the fire department,” Mayor Steele said.