City privatizes its beach lifeguarding. The company does what companies do.
Lifeguard fired for helping in beach rescue in Hallandale Beach – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
As lifeguards are paid and trained to do, Tomas Lopez rushed down the beach to rescue a drowning man — and then got fired for it.
The problem: Lopez stepped out of the beach zone his company is paid to patrol, a supervisor said Tuesday.
… Lifeguards in Hallandale Beach work for Orlando-based company Jeff Ellis and Associates, which has been providing lifeguard services for the city’s beaches and pools since 2003.
Company officials on Tuesday said Lopez broke a rule that could’ve put beachgoers in his designated area in jeopardy. The firm could ultimately have been sued, officials said.
“We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected area,” said supervisor Susan Ellis. “What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do.”
… After the incident, Lopez said his boss asked him to fill out an incident report. His boss then fired him for leaving his assigned area.
… City administrators declined to comment Tuesday, indicating that the firing was a personnel decision made by a private company.
…Hallandale Beach began outsourcing its lifeguards in 2003 as a money-saving measure. The city pays the company about $334,000 annually to provide four lifeguards and one supervisor at the beach year-round, said Dobens.
Do you know how privatizing saves money? By paying minimum wages with no benefits. A few people at the top (usually friends of the official who pushed through to privatizing) get the rest.