He Said, She Said . . . BY GREG WALTERS
The on-going debate over the management of Super Splash was turned up a notch at the last City Council meeting.
Park Director Kevin Boji began the meeting by providing a letter signed by three Assistant Managers at Super Splash. The letter is a blanket denial
Patrons and a number of life guards from Super Splash were on hand as well – reiterating their complaints of inadequate staffing, bullying, serious allegations on health and safety practices
at the pool and extended
hours without breaks. Also on hand at the meeting were three television news
stations – all of which broadcast the news stories that evening.
Paul Livius has done an excellent job of documenting what was said at the meeting. (Those sections in Paul's Report about Super Splash are bold faced.)
What is obvious from watching the meeting is that there is a definite need for both sides to get past the accusation stage and begin holding real conversations on how to solve any problems at Super Splash.
If Boji’s position is accurate, then why is there such a grand conspiracy to spread heinous lies and misinformation about the operation of Super Splash?
The last meeting saw nearly an hour of public comment from patrons and staff of the pool. They were all limited to five minutes each in speaking time. It is hard to accept that some of their complaints are not without merit.
In fact, some of the items brought forward by lifeguards and their supporters have been addressed. According to testimony given by Park Board Director Kevin Boji, it was found that first aid supplies and other emergency equipment were lacking. Boji told the Board of Aldermen the supplies have now been re-stocked.
Had the people not come forward and told of the broken equipment it leaves one to wonder if the problem would have addressed in a timely manner. After all, Super Splash has been open for for a month and a half. One would hope that emergency equipment was check more frequently than once every 90 days.
Alderman Bill VanBuskirk noted that many participants of a survey complained of people swimming with their underwear exposed. He was told that the dress code is "hard to enforce".
Which begs the question. Does that mean that the dress code will not be enforced?
The City of Raytown is paying a tremendous amount of money for Midwest Pool Management to manage Super Splash. They should expect that the city's laws and park rules be enforced as written.
Being told that situations are "hard to enforce" is not an acceptable answer.
Midwest Pool Management personnel testified that they had not received any complaints prior to the June 19th meeting of the Raytown Board of Aldermen.
Yet, city records show private individuals publicly testified that they had taken their grievances directly to Park Board Director Kevin Boji on more than one occasion. Boji testified that he met with Midwest Pool Management on a "once or twice a week" basis since the pool opened.
From watching the meeting it was very clear that the City Council’s policy of not allowing discussion between advocates from the public and Council members is proving to be a useless rule that only creates frustration an
paints and image of the City Council as aloof and uncaring
of the public’s concerns.
Until this veil of secrecy is removed from the operating procedure of City Council meetings, look for the lack of communication to increase the amount of public uproar over the operation of Super Splash.
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
July 3, 2012 BY PAUL LIVIUS
Mayor Protem Michael Lightfoot called the meeting to order and Alderman Shane ParDue gave the invocation.
Please note that there were many residents who addressed the Board of Aldermen at this meeting. Every effort was made to correctly identify each speaker, but if I misspelled anyone’s name, I apologize in advance.
- Amy Weaver told the Board the situation at Super Splash was worse this week and it was two weeks ago. She said last Sunday, Super Splash opened with 10 Life Guard instead of 21. One of the Life Guard fainted. Her mother had to take her to the hospital. She told the Board that at the YMCA, children must pass a swim test to go down the slides. She thinks Super Splash should have a swim test, especially at Jackson Hole, which is 12 feet deep. She saw a child go down the slide and needed to be saved because he couldn’t swim. Life Guards have told her the manager, Eric, told them they would be fired if they came and spoke at the Board meeting. Last Saturday, her 12-year-old daughter was dunked and groped by an 18-year-old man. When she told Eric about it, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.
- Mayor Protem Lightfoot told resident there should be no personal attacks. No one should be addressed or talked about by name. He asked the comments be kept general. (Editor's Note: For the record, we have monitored the last two City Council meetings. There have not been ANY personal attacks by ANY speakers -- period. As for naming individuals during testimony -- this is public comment -- the City does not have the authority to instruct what may or may not be said by any individual addressing the Board of Aldermen. If there are individuals named to enlighten the Board of a situation -- how else will Board members be made aware of the grievance?
- Caleb Schmidt said he has been a Life Guard for the past 4 years. There were several things wrong with the new management company. One – management used intimidating techniques and singled people out for ridicule. Two – the employees have had no in-service training. More than half the experienced Life Guards have left and the new Life Guards are inexperienced. Three – Last Sunday, Eric was talking to one of the Life Guard about the rules at a slide. Eric told the Life Guard to look at him and not the water. The Life Guard took his eyes off the water, and a child started to drown. The Life Guard ignored Eric and pulled the child out of the water. Four – Super Splash is under staffed. Last Sunday they opened with 10 Life Guards. This was not the first time the park had opened under staffed. Five – Untrained pool attendants are at the top of the slides. Last Sunday, the pool attendant allowed a mother and infant child to go down Jackson Hole slide together. We watched the mother struggle to keep her and her child’s head above water. Six – management has messed up the chemicals so bad that the baby pool had to be closed so they could get the chemical to a safe level.
- Andy Whiteman told the Board he was shocked, appalled, outraged and disgusted with the problems at Super Splash. The City could be open to State and Federal violations and/or civil lawsuits if the allegations are correct. He suggested Super Splash be closed down immediately until all issues are corrected.
- Jurite Estes said she spoke to the Board two weeks ago and nothing has changed. Her daughter has been retaliated against. The managers at Super Splash threw her lunch around the break room. Last Sunday, the pool opened with 10 lifeguards. Who in the City has the authority to go to the pool and say, “This is not right. This needs to be fixed”? She was told Kevin Boji would be at Super Splash on Sunday. Every Life Guards she talked to said no one from the city came to the pool. On Sunday, a little boy fell and cut his head open. No one called the paramedics. The Adventure Oasis Life Guards who had come over to help out did not blow the emergency whistle. The blood spill was not cleaned up. She believes there is still a public safety issue. The Life Guards are fed up and they could quit tomorrow. They want to keep the pool open. They want the city to continue to collect the revenue. The management needs to change.
- Matt Calivitch said he is a former Life Guards and manager at Super Splash. Has worked at the Red Cross as an examiner for the last 4 years. He has helped out at Super Splash the last 2-3 years as a Red Cross examiner. Last Friday, he tried to pay the entrance fee to the park and was told he was a trouble maker. He said this was the first time he had come to the park to play and swim and didn’t know why he had been singled out.
- Jasmine Tyler told the Board on Wednesday, June 27, the pool opened with 9 Life Guard. The pool attendants were put at the top of three slides. She said there was one day when concession stand employees were at the top of the slides. The problem with that is they are not trained in CPR. On Thursday, June 28, Super Splash opened with 11 Life Guard. Saturday, June 30, the pool closed with 9 Life Guard. There have been many days when staff from Adventure Oasis has come to Super Splash to help out. Another problem they have is broken equipment. The Life Guards have “seal easy” which is used to administer breaths when doing CPR. These are all broken. She asked the Board how the Life Guards were supposed to administer CPR if they are broke. She told the Board the Adventure Oasis staff have had 6 in-service training sessions and Super Splash has had none.
- Ida Johnson has been a Life Guard at Super Splash for 3 years. At the pool opening meeting, they were told they now had “big boy and big girl jobs” and they were “servants to the customers”. She told the Board she was a college student and didn’t appreciate being talked down to in that way. She was scheduled to work ½ day on opening day. She ended up working a full day because everything was out of control. She had to work the baby pool for 40 minutes without a break. By law, Life Guard are required to wear shirts. Last Sunday, an Adventure Oasis Life Guard was working at Super Splash without a shirt. She told a manager she would get the Life Guard a shirt and the manager said he’d be ok.
- At this point, Mayor Pro Tem reminded the speakers one more time to not address people by name. Speakers can make general comments only.
- Collin Sibbit said last Wednesday while working at the top of the slide, he witnessed a Life Guard fall to a sitting position and nearly pass out. He blew his whistle to alert the head Life Guard and shut down the slide. Management sent he unassisted to the break room and then sent her home. He told the board that one time he was sent to pick up another Life Guard and bring him to work. After he returned, he was not allowed to eat his lunch.
- Patrick Malm works concessions. He complained Super Splash management come in the kitchen to check the registers. They do not oversee the kitchens or the concession staff. They are not allowed in the kitchens.
- Zachary Colontsilto works at Super Splash. He reported to the board the back boards are broken. He told the Board the back boards are used if someone had a neck or spinal injury. Three weeks ago he was on break and was notified someone had passed out. He explained to the Board that this could be a serious situation because someone could hit their head when they fell. He grabbed the trauma bag and ran to the pool. The manager took his time getting to the woman who passed out. Two weeks ago, he was told he needed to study for a test. He wasn’t allowed to take the study guide home. He was expected to study during the 10 – 15 minute breaks he got once or twice a day. He was finally given a study guide 2 days before the test and was told there would be 60 questions. After he took the test, he asked the manager how he did and was told there were 7 questions on the test that were for managers and not Life Guard.
- Derek Wicks is a Life Guard at Super Splash. When he hired on, he was told he could work 60 hours a week. Later, he was told he could only work 40 and would be fired if he worked overtime. He said they call me in every morning to work because they are short of Life Guards.
Mahesh Sharma reported the Raytown Christian Churches will again provide lunches for low income children while school is out for the summer. Last year, City Hall worked 2 hours on the project. Mr. Sharma also told the Board Kyle Stoker, Ballistics Department Crime Analyst, will provide a brief presentation at the Board meeting on August 14.
Alderman Mock asked all residents to check on their elderly neighbors during the heat wave. There are 2 cooling centers in town; the YMCA and the Public Library. He also said a Raytown resident, Maurice Betchel, would be competing in the 2012 Track and Field Olympics in London.
Alderman Ertz reported that in early afternoon on Tuesday, July 3, a power surge caused a power outage. Due to unusually high water usage and the pump being out, the Raytown Water Company asked for emergency water restrictions so there would be water in case of a fire or other disaster. Due to the low water pressure conditions, KCMO water issued a boil advisory. He said the boil advisory was not mandatory, just recommended.
Alderman Van Buskirk said the annual National Field Day with the Armature Radio Club was from 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 30 to 1:00 pm on Sunday, July 1. They transmit all around the nation and the world to see how many transmissions can be made. He would like to thank them for the work they do. It is invaluable help in case of an emergency situation.
Alderman Melson reported to the Board the Raytown Arts Council will be putting on “Cinderella” at Raytown South High School on July 13-14-15. The tickets can be purchased at the Raytown Hy-Vee. She said in memory of Blaire, Michelle and Brian DeMoss are asking that all Raytown Residents refrain from using guns as part of the 4th of July Celebrations.
Kevin Boji came before the Board during a work session with his Response to Super Splash Operational Inquiries. He told the Board public safety if the Park’s number one priority. Super Splash is operated in a professional manner with competent and qualified staff. Employees are respectful, friendly and work hard to provide a family friendly park for patrons. The staff and management are ready to answer any questions and are ready to provide a safe swimming environment. From June 12 to June 17, Midwest Pool Management conducted patron surveys. Two hundred ninety-six surveys showed that overall, patrols are pleased with their experience. MPM and the Park Board expected a difficult transition to the new policies and procedures. Unhappy staff can request reassignment to other MPM facilities or they can quit. MPM is committed to providing a safe environment for employees and patrons. He said there were time clock issues, but the employees were paid fairly and on time. The staff were paid at the rate on their employment agreement and they clock in and out on MPM's 1-800 phone system. The hour and time sheets are verified by MPM staff. MPM pays Life Guard, managers pool attendants and swim lesson staff. The City pays concession and front gate staff. The staff is provided an employee hand book and are required to undergo thorough training before and after the pool was opened. The required training includes CPR and first aid, blood born pathogens policy, general safety procedures, severe weather procedures, city and state harassment policies and harassment due to age, sex, race, national origin or sexual orientation. Discrimination will not be tolerated. If an employee thinks he or she is harassed or discriminated against, they should go to their supervisor. If they are uncomfortable with going to their supervisor, they should go to the City’s Human Resource department. He told the Board they had asked last week about the terms of cancelling the contract with MPM. It is possible with written notice in the event of substantial failure of the either party to perform in accordance to the terms of the contract. MPM has on staff 65 life guards, 7 managers and 13 pool attendants.
Alderman Lightfoot asked Mr. Boji if Super Splash has opened this year without the appropriate number of life guards. Mr. Boji said that in the early days, the pool opened when short staffed. In that case, certain areas of the facility were closed until the correct number of staff was present.
Alderman White said there have been several complaints about employees not having enough time to clock out of one job and clock into another. Is there a problem with the payroll? She was told that last week, MPM issued 1,100 paychecks and 15 checks had problems.
Alderman Mock asked if the slide attendants had to be certified life guards. He was told there is a pool attendant at the top of the slide and a certified life guard at the bottom. Alderman Mock said it sounds like these problems have been going on for some time and he was glad they came to the Board meeting to let them know there was a problem.
Alderman Par due asked if Super Splash ever operated with less life guards than required by law. He was told there was no law requiring any number of life guards, on the industry standard, which is determined by the type of pool.
Alderman Creamer asked how many formal grievances had been filed with MPM. He was told there were none. The staff has chosen to air their grievances before the Board. The problems started the day before the June park board meeting and MPM thinks there are some hidden agendas. Every time the staff goes before the Board of Alderman or the Park Board, they keep adding complaints.
Alderman Van Buskirk said the survey indicated there was a problem with patron dress code. He was told the dress code was hard to enforce.
Alderman Hamilton said there have been allegations about the lack of availability of gloves and proper equipment. He was told MPM was not aware of any supply problems. They heard about it for the first time at the last Board meeting. The next day, the supplies were checked and properly stocked.
Under the consent agenda, the Board approved the appointment of Mary Jane Van Buskirk to the Council on Aging. Before the vote, Alderman Van Buskirk asked to be recused.
The board passed a resolution amending the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget by authorizing $47,800.00 for a storm sewer installation on property located at the vicinity of 9628 E. 350 Highway. Andy Noll told the Board this was because storm water keeps backing up in the old Laurel Lanes building. The new owner needs the sewer fixed so he can put in a sports center.
The Board passed an ordinance granting a conditional use permit to operate a Financial Institution on property located at 7314 Raytown Road.
The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance establishing a procedure to disclose potential conflicts of interest for certain municipal officials in the City of Raytown. Teresa Henry told the Board this is just a housekeeping issue and they pass this ordinance every year. Alderman Melson made a motion to suspend the rules and have the second reading that night. The Board heard the second reading and passed the Ordinance.
Fit Bottomed Girls
CHICKEN RECIPE BY ERINI’m no chef. In fact, cooking is a chore to me. Like I wish I could be a morning person, I so wish I loved to cook. But I cook because I have to, and in doing so, have a few tasty but easy recipes up my sleeve. Who doesn’t need another chicken recipe? (Well, maybe vegetarians. But you know what I’m sayin’.) Super... Continue reading