Palm Beach County Commissioners told county lifeguards Tuesday they still can’t stand with them on a “special risk” category for better benefits. But the county said it would help them to try to get the rules changed in Tallahassee. And maybe give them a raise.
For decades, lifeguards have tried to get the state-permitted classification, which would nearly double the amount of their Florida Retirement System pensions and would allow them to retire earlier.
If the county concurred with the lifeguards, it would have to make EMT certification mandatory for all of them, including the 35 of the 94 lifeguards who aren’t certified, Assistant County Administrator Nancy Bolton told commissioners Tuesday. She said that would cost about $511,000 a year.
“We do not believe we have a legal basis” to back the lifeguards’ attempts, Bolton said.
She said the proper solution would instead by state legislation, and, if commissioners so directed, her staff would push for it.
The commission directed staff to research that, and changing lifeguards’ job description to avoid complications, and giving lifeguards raises.
Scott Marting is Palm Beach County’s new director of risk management. Marting, who had been the department’s manager of property and casualty insurance and claims, was promoted to replace Nancy Bolton, who after 12 years left the post in March when she was promoted to assistant county administrator, along with Todd Bonlarron, Palm Beach County’s lobbyist to the Legislature for 15 years, and retired St. Lucie County Administrator Faye Outlaw, a West Palm Beach native. County Administrator Verdenia Baker announced Martin’s promotion at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting.
“With change comes opportunity for different perspectives and renewed energy,” Baker said in an email to county commissioners and county staff. “All of these individuals are well qualified and possess unique qualities that will serve the residents of Palm Beach County well.”