Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda City Council is examining the wage structure of lifeguards at Payne Park Memorial Pool after it was revealed that they receive payment below minimum wage, which is considered legal because it is governed as part time civil service employment.
Patricia Brosius, director of Youth, Recreation and Parks, wrote a letter to the common council indicating the extent of training required for the positions, often paid out of the lifeguard’s own pockets.
While the issue was not voted on during Tuesday’s work session meeting, the council seems poised to bump the lifeguard hourly pay up to $7.25 an hour, which is currently the minimum wage under state law, though a debate was had in the New York state Assembly to increase that amount. Ultimately, the matter was not passed.
Alderwoman-At-Lage Nancy Donovan said that lifeguards serving North Tonawanda have not received a raise of any kind since 2006.
Clerk-Treasurer Scott Kiedrwoski, acting on behalf of Brosius, told council members that she recommends moving the lifeguard payment up to the second step in the civil service pay scale.
“You’re talking about employees protecting other peoples’ lives,” he said.
The council is also examining a new bid by National Fuel Resources, which supplies natural gas used to operate the North Tonawanda Wastewater Treatment plant. A drop in price, attributed to market rates, would save the city an estimated $25,000 off of last year’s $107,281 price tag.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.