Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, June 19, 2000

LP swimming pool opens with plenty of problems

By Jane Otto

Frustration was evident as city clerk Marilyn Pawelk detailed the swimming pool's first week of the season at last Monday's Lester Prairie City Council meeting.

"We need to take control now. We can't wait until July. We can't keep people on who don't do their job," Pawelk said. "We can't keep people on who don't show up for work. We can't keep having kids come to the pool and think that they're going to run the pool and have no regard for the staff working there."

The kids causing trouble are being tossed out of the pool, but are not leaving the area, said Pawelk.

The assistant manager told one kid to leave, and the next day, the sidewalk around the pool and the concession stand had scribblings on them defiling the assistant manager, Pawelk said.

While the pool staff is waiting on kids at the pool's entrance, other kids have jumped over the counter inside the pool grounds where the baskets are stored, and broke a child's glasses. They have also used the pool phone without permission, Pawelk continued.

Pawelk asked if the police should drive these kids home so their parents know what it is they have done.

"If we're having problems and they are not going to leave immediately, get the police down there and have the kids escorted home," said Mayor Eric Angvall. "It's not fair to the pool staff to deal with these kids. It creates an unsafe situation for the staff and the kids using the pool."

Also, pool employees themselves have been cause for some of the anguish. Pawelk said some pool staff are not doing their jobs.

Council member Rose Halloran, who also serves on the park board, said that there was a training session for all the pool staff.

"Knowledge and execution are two different things," said council member Ron Foust.

"If they don't do their job, they won't have a job," said Halloran. "There are a lot of kids who want those jobs."

It was decided that if an employee is not doing his/her job, he/she will be told one-on-one first. If they continue to not perform, they will lose their jobs.

Other pool questions also involved when to open and close the pool.

If there are not many kids using the pool, the staff can close the pool. That's what happened the first week, and an irate parent called city hall asking why the pool was closed.

Pawelk said that the staff needs specific guidelines to follow for opening and closing the pool. Also, when parents call asking why, Pawelk can refer to the policy.

If just one child shows up to swim, the pool will open as scheduled. Pool hours are 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8:30 p.m. If there are fewer than 10 swimmers at 3 p.m. or 8 p.m., the pool will close.

Lack of lifeguards, not lack of swimmers, was another reason the pool did not open one evening, Pawelk said.

"You can't open the pool with just one lifeguard," said Pawelk.

The council gave Pawelk permission to hire lifeguards as they apply.

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