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      Lifeguard shortage threatens Syracuse city pools

      Summer will soon be here and that means all eight of Syracuse city pools will be packed with kids of all ages looking to beat the heat. But, Syracuse City Parks Commissioner Baye Muhammad says opening the city pools on time this summer could be a problem because the city still needs 53 lifeguards to be able to open.

      "We want all the pools open. A lot of children and adults use the pools so it's a little nerve wracking," he says.

      In order to recruit new lifeguards, Muhammad says the city is raising the starting salary for lifeguards from eight dollars and fifteen cents an hour to nine dollars and fifty cents an hour.

      Right now Syracuse City Pools are scheduled to open on June 30, but Muhammad says if the city can't get the lifeguards it needs it may be forced to reduce the number of pools it opens to the public.

      "Worst case scenario is we're going to have to downsize and not open some pools," he says.

      Syracuse lifeguards will be employed seasonally for approximately eight weeks. Work hours are noon to 7:30 weekdays and weekends.

      Anyone interested in applying for a lifeguard position with the city is encouraged to call the Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs office at (315) 473-4330.