A Madison Pool lifeguard and her supervisor have resigned after a large party that involved alcohol at Foster Pool on July 4.
Seven other lifeguards were suspended without pay for two weeks. All but one of them work at Madison Pool.
The incident was discovered when a city worker opened the pool so the mayor could make an announcement regarding the eventually failed fireworks show.
Suspicious about the off-duty lifeguards at the pool, he notified aquatics director Matt Demaline, who said he found as many as two cases of beer at the pool.
Some were full, some were empty, said Demaline.
“I had suspicions that they were doing something they shouldn’t be doing,” he said, adding that he didn't discover the beer cans until after he dismissed the lifeguards. “But I didn’t observe anyone drinking.”
The police weren’t notified about the pool party, which may have included underage drinking.
Instead, the school district — which oversees the recreation department and the pools — turned the investigation over to its human resources department.
“Nobody was proven definitely to be drinking,” said school district spokeswoman Christine Gordillo. “All of them denied drinking.”
However, a supervisor and a lifeguard each turned in their resignations, which the board of education accepted on Monday.
“The district feels that these are young people who made poor choices,” Gordillo said. “The administration felt that asking for their resignations (as opposed to firing them) wouldn’t mar their future opportunities.”
One Lakewood resident, who asked not to be identified, wrote to Lakewood Patch noting that the remaining lifeguards “can’t believe that these people did not get fired or arrested.”
Reports that parents of the lifeguards considered legal action should they be fired were not confirmed.
Most of the lifeguards are older than 18, but younger than 21.
“I believe this was out of character for these kids,” Demaline said. “We have over 100 employees. I don’t believe this is indicative of the entire staff. These are good kids who made a questionable decision.”
The suspended lifeguards, who are part-time, seasonal employees, are set to begin working again July 19.
“We hope everyone learns from these mistakes," said Demaline. "We will continue to offer a safe aquatics program.”