Lifeguard Recruitment Meeting Set
Community Board 14 will host a special meeting later this month to investigate lifeguard recruitment and testing in the wake of accusations that several local kids were blackballed because they bucked the long-established city recruitment system.
Members of the board's Environmental, Parks and Public Safety Committee, as well as members of a newly formed ad hoc lifeguard committee and the public are being asked to attend the upcoming meeting at the Beach Club on Beach 116 Street.
"We invite people who are interested to come," CB14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska told The Wave this week, shortly after the meeting was announced. "Ultimately, we'd really like the City Council to hold meetings on this," he added.
The meeting comes about a month after local teenagers who did advance training under a new program at local high schools - not at the Department of Parks and Recreation main pool facility on West 59 Street in Manhattan - accused city lifeguard recruiters of arbitrarily assigning them to city pools or failing them outright. The kids and adults involved told The Wave that recruiters use unfair and subjective testing procedures that allow them to manipulate a candidate's results to suit their personnel needs.
The Wave first reported on the controversy on June 21. A spokesperson for Parks dismissed the claims made by locals and said the city had "more than enough" lifeguards for its beaches.
But, as visitors to Rockaway's beaches know, red flags marking closed beaches can be seen on a daily basis.
Peter Stein, the head of the lifeguard union, did not return calls for that story.
CB14's special meeting will be held at the Beach Club on Tuesday, August 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.