If you saw yesterday’s Political Column you saw this item: WAS ELLIOTT, the council’s self-proclaimed fiscal watchdog, angling Tuesday night for the city’s lifeguards to get higher pay so that his younger daughter, one of the city’s newest lifeguards, could earn more scratch?
Elliott, who expressed opposition to pay raises for all city employees during the budget debate, said Tuesday the salary structure for all lifeguards should be examined.
He said it has been a longtime problem that the city hires and trains lifeguards only to see them leave shortly thereafter to other communities offering better pay, leaving Lowell short-staffed. As of Tuesday, Elliott said the city was short seven lifeguards, which was a problem he mentioned in the context of Councilor Marty Lorrey’s motion calling for more summer water facilities in the city.
Elliott disclosed publicly that his daughter is a lifeguard. Later, he requested a report from the city manager on why the city has a tough time retaining lifeguards. When reached by The Column, Elliott said he was taken aback by the suggestion that his comments had anything to do with seeing his daughter’s pay rise. “I don’t care if she gets paid minimum wage,” Elliott said. “It is not about that at all. I’m just happy she is learning valuable skills and having a good time.
“I mentioned the pay for lifeguards because Councilor Lorrey’s motion would require more lifeguards and we don’t even have enough for the pools and splash pad we already plan to open. I just want to see if we can solve that problem. This was not about my daughter.”
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Tom Bellegarde confirmed to The Column that lifeguards typically leave the city to go to private clubs with better pay and better hours and also go to other communities with better pay. The city, which he said pays lifeguards between $9.50 and $12.50, has not increased lifeguard pay since the late 1990s.
Perhaps Elliott’s motives were pure, but lifeguard pay was an issue he would have been wise to let another councilor raise.
After I Posted my Sunday Column denouncing that item and saying, A city worker upset with Councilor Elliot emailed me a similar remark, I am guessing emailed the same comment to the SUN which they chose to run with.
Later a person named Judy posted saying:
Upon showing up at her job as a lifeguard today, my granddaugher Mikayla Elliott was told her “paperwork was not processed” and she could not lifeguard. She had just driven home with her parents from Barnstead NH, where they were on vacation, a 1 1/2-2hour drive. She was embarassed and confused as she had turned in all her paperwork over a month ago. Did this happen to anyone else? and if it did, how can you not process new lifeguards for the opening of the pools on a busy holiday week.
Using someone’s child for petty political payback is juvenile, ludicrous and vile.
No one who serves in public office should have their child get treated poorly or unfairly because of politics.
I checked into Judy’s posting because I am very upset and ticked off that city workers would in any way use a child to extract any type of political revenge and that is exactly what this appears to be. I reached out to not only the emailer but directly to Councilor Elliot.
Rodney and I may disagree on many things but one thing has always been perfectly clear to me when it comes to Rodney Elliot. He is a great dad and loves and supports his kids. Rodney is always with his family and doing things to encourage and support his daughters and no one should ever screw with anyones’ family.
Do paperwork snafu’s happen? Yes but for someone to get their schedule and equipment and be told to show up at a specific pool and a set time to work only to do that and be told that your paperwork wasn’t processed reeks of at best ineptitude and at worst petty politics.
Much like the Bathroom Snafu at the Soccer Field , this again looks to me and I am sure the Elliot’s and their friends has petty political payback. It makes the Administration look terrible and they may not have anything to do with it directly but they are responsible for the day to day activities and if this was just a college kid making a mistake than that college kid needs to be employed somewhere else where they can’t screw up someone’s life.
To his credit in his email response Councilor Elliot would not go down that road. He gave me the basic information about the process he participated in with his daughter, driving her to get her papers, drug test and to the interview, without accusing anyone of anything but he is an upset Dad has I am and it isn’t my kid or a close friend.
I’m upset that anyone’s child who went through rigorous lifeguard training course and studied hard to pass it, took CPR, First Aid got her working papers at the School Dept, took her drug test, got her paperwork from Great West (the City’s deferred comp provider since she’s not eligible for City Retirement = because she is part time and 15 years old) dated June 21st that her paperwork for OBRA/mandatory deferred comp had been received and picked up her equipment and received her schedule shows me that her paperwork was indeed submitted and yet gets sent home without an explanation about what allegedly was missing and incomplete.
So who screwed it up and why?
She did everything she was told to do and beyond, she showed up for work, only to be sent home and only told that your paperwork wasn’t processed without anyone telling her exactly what was allegedly missing is embarrassing for her and for the city and the administration.
It is uncalled for and the City Administration needs to explain why it happened and why again it appears to be political payback against a specific councilor.
I have reached out to the Manager who was out of state all week and will post his response but to an outsider who is just watching, I am outraged that a possibility exist that a child was used to get petty payback against her father and every councilor ,elected official and Dad should be upset.
Someone’s got some Explaining to do!