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How Life Guards Get Paid $200K Per Year

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Posted on May 13 2011 11:27 am
Diane Schrader, a former television news writer/producer, lives with her family in Los Angeles. She likes a nice cup of tea. Follow her on Twitter.

 

In beach lingo, THIS is the Anointed One

It’s hard for kids who grow up near the ocean in sunny Southern California. Who wouldn’t be tempted to spend all their time hangin’ at the beach, soaking up the surf, sand, sun, and bikinis? Of course, the responsible ones stay home and do their studying and go to college and get good jobs. When they grow up, if they stay in Orange County (the OC), the median annual income is $71,735. Not bad, right? They made the wise decision to hit the books instead of the beach, right? I mean, they’re way better off than the slackers who spend their lives down in the sand… right?

WRONG.

It utterly boggles my mind to report this, but city lifeguards in the swanky oceanside city of Newport Beach are UNIONIZED. In fact, they’ve got TWO unions – one for the full-timers and one for the part-time seasonal help.

So what I’m about to report next probably won’t surprise you one bit.

Newport’s full-time lifeguards make six figures. All 14 of them.

Well, okay. The lowest-paid collected $98,160.65 last year. The rest of them ranged from just over $100,000 to… wait for it… more than $200,000. (Two of them.)

That’s LIFEGUARDS, folks. You know – the job your kid had last summer? Too bad he didn’t work in Newport Beach, right? If he had, you wouldn’t have to worry about those college costs, because it would all be paid for, thanks to the dupes Newport Beach taxpayers.

Oh, we’re not done yet. I wish we were, but we’re not. The good people of the Lifeguard Management Association and the Association of Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards were not content with obscene salaries – oh, no. That lifeguard work is stressful! Thirty years on the beach takes its toll! These poor slobs sitting in lifeguard towers their whole lives must be compensated for the tremendous burden imposed by their career choice: staring at girls, breathing crisp ocean air, tanning… you know, I’m getting choked up just thinking about the price these brave souls of the surf have paid to perform their selfless public service. Anyway, that’s the story their unions are sticking with, apparently.

Because Newport Beach lifeguards, after 30 years in the sand, can retire with 90 percent of their staggeringly inappropriate salary.

A group called Americans for Prosperity-California (wait – there are Americans who are for prosperity in California?) … anyway this brave and lonely band of right-thinkers points out that there is already at least one retiree who, if he lives to 80, will collect well over $3 million in retirement. (Strangely, that dude is doing the same thing now as when he was working – hanging out on the beach. Go figure.) And as more of these guys transition out of the lifeguard towers and down onto the sand – more and more of them will be retiring with $200K a year instead of $100K. Do the math. It’s not a day at the beach for Newport taxpayers, that’s for sure.

What does the union have to say about this?

“We have negotiated very fair and very reasonable salaries in conjunction with comparable positions… lifeguard salaries here are well within the norm of other city employees.”

THAT’S THE PROBLEM. Public worker pay is out of control in comparison to private sector salaries. Remember that OC median of $71K? That’s a median of ALL private salaries – from fast food workers to surgeons. So that median salary is $30K less than what city workers get – if they’re LIFEGUARDS.

So what have we learned, kids?

Stay in school!

Oops. No, that’s not what we learned.

We learned that public employee unions are, like, totally radical!

And I mean that in EVERY sense of the word.

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