Mission lifeguards come to city council asking for a raise

Mission lifeguards had their picture taken with the city council after making a presentation asking for a raise.
Mission lifeguards had their picture taken with the city council after making a presentation asking for a raise.

A group of Mission lifeguards has asked the city council to consider raising the pay for the lifeguard staff at the community pool.

The 10 young lifeguards made their pitch to the council last week and then posed for a picture with Mayor Steve Schowengerdt and the council.

The lifeguards told the council that they are paid lower than guards at surrounding pools and that they have not received a raise in recent years. Lifeguards in Mission make $7.50 per hour to start. Captains and Learn to Swim instructors make $10 or $12 for being a Water Safety Instructor, according to the city.

The guards told the council that Roeland Park pays $8.25 to start and $9 is starting in Overland Park. Short-staffing this summer might have been due to the low pay, they said.

Mission City Administrator Laura Smith said the city’s salary and compensation plan is reviewed each fall. A salary freeze has been in place for several years, affecting not just the lifeguards, but all part-time staff at the community center and elsewhere. The city will be reviewing both part-time and full-time salary ranges as part of the process this year, she said.

“We will start on that tomorrow,” Mayor Schowengerdt told them.

The guards said that some have been at the pool for 10 years and that it is a good job for high school and college students. Smith said she appreciated the “thoughtful presentation” they made to the council.