Milwaukee Co. officials push to increase lifeguard pay amid shortage, summer heat

NOW: Milwaukee Co. officials push to increase lifeguard pay amid shortage, summer heat

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- If you're looking for ways to keep cool in the summer heat, you're not alone.

Many in Milwaukee are taking to beaches and pools to fight the summer heat, but parks officials said they're short around a hundred lifeguards.

It's an issue county supervisors said they're trying to fix.

At Bradford Beach, the sign says it all: No lifeguards on duty.

County supervisors said many pools in the county have been shut down due to lifeguard shortages as well, it's why one county supervisor is pushing for better pay for the position.

"I'm out here today because it feels like 90 degrees and I got out of work a little bit early so I was able to catch the sun," said Grecia Rodriguez.

She was one of many soaking in the sun on Monday.

Moms like Judith Celby made it a family event.

"We came yesterday and it was so nice. This time I was able to bring the entire family," said Celby.

Without a lifeguard in sight, Celby said she's being watchful of her kids.

The lack of lifeguards at beaches is something Eddie Cullen, 15th District Milwaukee County Supervisor, wants to change.

Cullen says another issue is some pools are reaching maximum capacity while others are closed due to the shortage.

"We're hoping that if we increase the pay this year, we'll have more of our lifeguards come back and sort of be motivated to tell other lifeguards like oh, you can work for the county and you can make this much," said Cullen, "We're definitely looking to improve things for next summer."

That pay increase would be $3 at every level, starting lifeguards out at $18 an hour.

Cullen said he aims for the pay increase to help staff beaches.

"The fact that we don't have lifeguards on our beaches and it can be really dangerous, especially for novice swimmers," said Cullen.

Celby said paying lifeguards more to up staffing is a win-win.

"I think people here keeping us safe, keeping our kids safe, that's a wonderful idea," said Celby. "I'm always for paying people more because I don't think any of us that work hard make enough."

County Supervisor Cullen said the legislation passed committee unanimously, he said he expects it to pass the general board Thursday.

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