Proposals made to enhance staffing at the Groveport Aquatic Center

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Aquatic Center lifeguard Elise Pickett on duty at the pool during a past summer swim season.

City officials are looking to streamline the operations of the Groveport Aquatic Center.

“We’re looking at ways to improve,” said Groveport Aquatics Manager Seth Bower.

On Sept. 20, Bower presented the draft of plan to Groveport City Council regarding the Aquatic Department that would update staffing and staffing structure, examine pay rates, and create additional employee incentives.

The proposed changes include:

•Eliminating the assistant aquatic manager position and creating a part time aquatic supervisor position. Bower said the new position is similar to the building supervisor job in the recreation area and “would help create less confusion and clearly define roles and responsibilities.”

•Possibly eliminate the aquatics coordinator position whose duties could be absorbed by the new part time aquatics supervisor

•Review the head lifeguard job description.

“The head lifeguard is our first front line manager position,” said Bower.

•Examine pay rates in comparison with those at other similar communities and facilities. Currently the head lifeguard earns between $12.29 to $19.79 per hour; the proposed new aquatics supervisor position could earn between $14.91 to $19.44 per hour; and lifeguards earn between $11 to $17.67 per hour.

In comparison with 11 other swimming facilities in Central Ohio, head lifeguards in those facilities make between $9 to $16.50 per hour, the aquatic supervisor position makes between $14 to $28 per hour, and lifeguards make between $8.80 to $15 per hour.

•Create culture incentives to help with staff retention.

“I believe we have done a good job incentivizing based on merit,” said Bower. “However, I believe we can also do a culture incentive bonus as well. These are incentives to keep lifeguards that aren’t necessarily tied to merit increases.”

These culture incentives could include: a beginning of summer meet and greet; an adopt a lifeguard program where experienced lifeguards are given a new lifeguard to “adopt” similar to a big brother/big sister program; an end of summer awards ceremony; an end of summer lifeguard formal event with games, prizes, food and music; and end of summer coupons that can be turned in for things such as skipping cleaning duties one night at closing.

“We offer excellent financial incentives and we’d like to continue to build on a positive culture at Aquatics,” said Bower. “We want an environment where employees want to come back.”

Currently the Aquatic Center offers the following incentives to employees: two free swim suits; lifeguard class reimbursement; free membership; 50 cent an hour bonus at the end of summer; $100 refer a friend program; mentor groups; lifeguard of the week; and beads for lanyards for going above and beyond.

“I think you are on the right track,” said Mayor Lance Westcamp.

Added Councilman Ed Dildine, “It’s nice to see some fresh ideas.”

Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr said the Aquatic Center’s draft proposal will be finalized and that legislation regarding Aquatic Center admission rates and requirements for next swimming season will come before council in the near future.

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