The Ely Times
A subject that has been a hot topic around the community is whether or not the McGill Pool was going to open, and if it would be open more than 2-3 days was discussed at a special White Pine County Commission meeting earlier this week.
The county commission held a special meeting earlier this week to discuss the consideration of the wages of the Aquatic Center and McGill pool employees. This effort is to improve compensation and discuss incentive options.
Kristi Rozich, the Aquatic Center director, spoke before the commission with Human Resources Director Tim Bunch.
Rozich explained how she met with Elizabeth Frances, finance director, and Bunch to come up with a new offset to positions that they currently have which would allow the aquatic center to hire people right out the door.
“They would sign an agreement stating they would have 90 days to complete the lifeguard certification and then they’d have to sign another agreement to work with us for another 90 days, with the understanding that we would supply the compensation for the training. Which that would give us another employee right there for another 180 days” Rozich said.
Bunch also noted that the county would be paying for the training up to 36 hours.
“McGill has already agreed to do something along this line, and we mentioned this before, we needed something to help it out, but I also believe there needs to be some form of accountability rather than pay for it and they don’t come back,” Bunch said.
It was also mentioned that there is also an agreement that if someone didn’t have the money up front the county would pay for the cost, and they would give it back to the county in a paycheck, and after working for so much time, the staff member would receive a refund for a portion of the cost it cost for the class.
Bunch expressed that he hoped this would provide a greater desire for people to come on board. There was also discussion of eliminating the cashiers position, which is basically being the face of the aquatic center, answering phones, making reservations, etc.
They discussed calling it an attendant position where this would give the person in that position more responsibilities, such as training to do chemicals, teaching classes, becoming instructors.
“They would be able to do everything in the building except the lifeguard position until they completed the class,” Rozich said.
In addition this would give Rozich another way to relieve the schedule and the ability to use more guards as guards, instead using guards as instructors and creating more flexibility.
Chairman of the Commission Richard Howe said, “We were talking about maybe closing McGill, be open Thursday, Friday, Satruday and Sunday, or?”
Rozich said, “We revisited that with our staff, and we decided we are going to power through and open everything up at full capacity. Programs and classes might be canceled on certain days, based on what we have available that way we have both pools.”
Two lifeguard will be traveling back and forth, that way McGill will always be fully staffed.
Rozich said, “If we need to we’ll cancel a program or class that day rather than shutting down or cutting hours. And that would work better for everyone.”
Howe said, “That’s great, so McGill will only be closed on Wednesdy”?
Rozich said, “Yes, the ratio will have to be considered, maybe having to have a class or two canceled up at the Aquatic Center. but we’ll have to go by what we have available at that time, that way McGill will be fully staffed and operating fully, and we’ll do our best up at the aquatic center to keep it going.”
A pay scale was discussed, and also noted that it would affect the budget.
Commissioner Shane Bybee said, “I think we need to come up with a competitive wage.”
Commissioner Ian Bullis was also in support of increasing the wages. He said,“I support this, let’s not be cheap here, let’s get the problem fixed and ensure people are well compensated.”
All commissioners were in agreement with a more competitive pay scale. Bullis made the motion to approve to go with a higher pay scale, Bybee seconded the motion, and the item was approved unanimously.
Previous positions, such as an attendant, would go from $9.50 to $10.50 an hour. A lifeguard position that is currently making $9.95 would be increased to an hourly wage of $11.35. A swim coach, $17.45 to $19.25.