Today at 10:00 – an open forum on eliminating lifeguards that was kept secret.

Lifeguards at New Buffalo beach to end

It appears that the New Buffalo City Council members decided to bury deep down in a proposed 2018/219 budget the elimination of lifeguards at the City’s beach.   City Clerk Lori Vander Clay did not inform the public about this open forum either through an email blast or on the City’s website.  The continued veil of secrecy at city hall disenfranchise the residents in public decision-making.

This might be a budget tightening maneuver since all spare dollars appear to being sucked up in the downtown project.  This year the City employees, in their goal for a wall of secrecy, stopped broadcasting public meetings – thus keeping this decision to eliminate  lifeguards a well-kept secret.  The only way you can find out about this decision or any decision is to attend the meetings. The announcements of the meeting are sketchy and  Vander Clay believes she does not have to abide the City Charter that requires she provide the proceedings of every meeting on the City’s website within 15 days of the meetings.

This display of total disregard for government transparency should not be tolerated by the residents. We always were proud of our lifeguard team who have saved lives a number of times.  To save bucks to spend on downtown lighting, should we risk lives?  Most people would say no but apparently, the council members and the city employees say yes – in secret.


6 thoughts on “Today at 10:00 – an open forum on eliminating lifeguards that was kept secret.

  1. Susan Gotfried Post author

    The beach does fall within the DDA district. Some blame for the over expenditures of the downtown development project should lied with the DDA who grabbed oversight of the project from the Planning Commission and the city employees who washed their hands of oversight duties, giving their expensive engineering contractor full authorization. The same thing was done at Osela Park. Instead of holding contractors accountable for original quotes, the city council free shares our tax revenues with them. The city already eliminated downtown public bathrooms due to the ballooning expenditures by Abonmarche – bathrooms that when polled a a public meeting ranked high with the riesidents. South Haven has heated sidewalks in the winter, lifeguards in the summer plus public bathrooms. Since it is only another 30 minutes to get to for tourists from Chicago, it makes sense to head north. Why look at SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK in New Buffalo while you can look at friendly smiles on the faces of lifeguards in South Haven.

  2. Rubia Jasinevicius

    This is yet another step advancing developers to privatizing the city’s beach. The City has made motions for the beach to fall under the direction of the DDA – headed by Kemper.

    I agree, this is another reason for visitors to spend a day and/or weeks elsewhere. Having people go elsewhere reduces public interest . A tactical move for developers. (Perhaps Ciardelli, Kemper and Gough will orchestrate the action to develop beach front property? – all while under the direction of a city employee who changes policy at will.)

  3. Susan Gotfried Post author

    Good points. But even from the perspective of a local, having the lifeguards was a real ‘life saver’ when my small grandkids were much faster than me in the water. And numerous times I watched the lifeguards call young children in when the flag was flying red. We depended on their common sense when swimmers were too bold for their own good. The city leadership must know that we would disagree with them on many issues, thus the rationale for them to do business in secret.

  4. Common Sense Man

    Amazing! That the city council would even consider eliminating life guards at a beach that can turn dangerous nearly instantaneously is beyond comprehension. On a long term basis it will be just one more reason for potential visitors (and their money) to decide to spend a day or a weekend or a week elsewhere, much like the ill-advised decision to preclude public restrooms in the vaunted downtown redevelopment plan. Keep driving people away and before long there will be only New Buffalo residents to utilize all those fancy improvements. Or has city council forgotten that New Buffalo’s economy is tourist and visitor driven?

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