Jacksonville Beach responds to ongoing dispute with volunteer lifeguards

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach’s city manager is responding to an ongoing dispute with the Volunteer Life Saving Corps.

News4JAX has reported that the city canceled the contract with the volunteer guards -- who stepped in to protect the beaches on Sundays and holidays. It comes after a Department of Labor settlement where the city paid back wages of $250,000.

The lifeguards are suing the city, claiming it’s a breach of contract. This week, the city countersued.

In an op-ed sent to News4JAX, Mike Staffopoulos writes that the “ruling required the City to change its ocean rescue policies and procedures to comply with Federal law. The City did not act without reason; more importantly, the City did act with good reasons.”

City leaders have gotten flack for cutting ties with the volunteer organization and locking the volunteers out of the historic lifeguard headquarters.

Staffopoulos said the city wants to maintain the building and continue to use it as ocean rescue headquarters.

The president of the volunteer guards told News4JAX Wednesday that he hopes the two sides come to an agreement that’s good for the entire community.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.