Letter: Lifeguard shortage not money issue
Updated 11:55 am, Friday, August 31, 2012
The Parks and Recreation Commission would like to echo Michael Herley and Ruth Smey's concerns written in an Aug. 24 letter to the editor regarding lifeguard coverage from Memorial Day through Labor Day [Lifeguards are needed through Labor Day"].
However, the commission understands that this reduction in coverage is not due to lack of funding or budget cuts. The Board of Selectmen Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting have always been very supportive of the Parks and Recreation budgets, and the department as a whole.
The coverage issue all comes down to the number of certified lifeguards available to work at the end of the season. The staff consist of teachers and college and high school students. Because some colleges and some high schools resume before Labor Day, we just do not have enough certified lifeguards to keep all the beaches staffed.
This is not unique to Fairfield. Other communities also experience reduced staffing. The waterfront has been operating on this schedule for at least the past 15 years. Jennings, Penfield and Lake Mohegan will have lifeguards on duty for the Labor Day weekend, as many of the dedicated staff will make trips home from local colleges to help cover the waterfront. The staff is continuously trying to find ways to cover as many beaches as possible at the end of the season in order to provide the enjoyable and safe experience that we are all accustomed to at our Fairfield beaches.
Ellery Plotkin, chairman
Fairfield Parks and Recreation Commission