BELLPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A special meeting will take place Saturday at Ho-Hum Beach to get lifeguards on Long Island rehired.
Several of them quit after they were allegedly told they could no longer bring their families to work, CBS2’s Emily Smith reports.
Beach managers say the lifeguards were not paying proper attention to other beach goers.
The Atlantic Ocean surf at Ho-Hum beach is only open to the Village of Bellport residents and their guests. But for nearly a week, they have been unable to swim there after a half a dozen lifeguards resigned in protest.
“So my wife wouldn’t be allowed to go, or any of the lifeguards’ immediate family wouldn’t be able to go,”said former Ho-Hum beach lifeguard Matthew Horsely.
“You can’t say that my family is not allowed at the beach,” said Kami Horsely, Matthew’s wife. “It’s not right and it’s not fair and it’s not based on anything.”
But Bellport Village mayor Raymond Fell acknowledges that he banned lifeguards’ immediate families after Horsely and a second lifeguard admitted they left their stations to deal with their own children.
“One lifeguard was in the water swimming with his kid while he was life guarding,” Mayor Fell said.
Some village residents agree with the mayor, like former lifeguard Jett House.
“Off-duty I don’t have a problem with it, but your job is to be watching the water so you probably shouldn’t be talking to your family,” House said.
But other residents say the village had long allowed the lifeguards to bring their families and keep an eye on them along with everyone else.
“I don’t think lifeguards would look at their families as more important than anyone else,” resident Gregory Chavious said. “I think the lifeguard’s family should be able to come over here.”
The mayor says he chose to hire lifeguards from the Town of Brookhaven instead, claiming Brookhaven does not allow lifeguards to bring their families. But a Brookhaven spokesman told CBS2 they have no such policy.
Brookhaven lifeguards have now set up their own stand allowing swimming to resume.