City of Austin facing lifeguard, city worker shortages going into summer

On a hot 100 degree day in Austin, it's typical for families to flock to Barton Springs pool, or any other pool in the area to cool off.

"Barton Springs is going down to only a few days a week to be able to accommodate the lack of lifeguards," said Paige Ellis, Austin City Council, District 8.

The city announced the pool will be closed on Mondays and Wednesdays until further notice.

"Dick Nichols pool is right now ready to go ready to be filled, ready to staff up with lifeguards, but we just don't have the commitment," she said.

Ellis sponsored a resolution to recruit and retain more lifeguards. It passed at the last council meeting.

"If you make it all the way through the summer, you could get a $500 bonus. I know the PARD board is looking at should there be wage increases," said Ellis.

Why is this happening? Ellis said there are many factors, including recruiting after recovering from the worst part of the pandemic. The issue is not exclusive to just Austin Parks and Recreation. 

Austin Resource Recovery said they are also dealing with a staff shortage, especially drivers. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is experiencing growing pains, and will be hiring at least 80 people later in the year.

"We just recently went to city council last week with a budget amendment for us to create and post 80 new positions, and those are full time positions," said Sam Haynes, spokesperson with ABIA.

As for now, Ellis said she will focus on the lifeguard shortage, but plans to look into getting other departments fully staffed as soon as possible.

"The past two years have created a lot of situations for public and private employers to try to make sure we are recruiting and retaining good employees. We are seeing that all over town," she said.

City of Round Rock hosts summer job fair Friday, April 1
Austin YMCA looking to hire 400 lifeguards, swim instructors, camp counselors for summer
Round Rock ISD holding Auxiliary Job Fair on Saturday, April 2
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