Crestwood aldermen delay final consideration of selection of company to manage Aquatic Center

MPM previously managed Crestwood Aquatic Center

By Kari Williams

Final consideration of the selection of a company to manage the Crestwood Aquatic Center recently was delayed by the Board of Aldermen.

Recreation Manager Todd Stover recommended approval of a contract with Midwest Pool Management, or MPM, for the Aquatic Center management contract, and the board approved a first reading of an ordinance awarding the contract to MPM with a 5-3 vote.

Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach, Ward 2 Aldermen Bob Deutschmann and Tim Trueblood, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild and Ward 4 Alderman John Foote voted in favor. Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan, Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel and Ward 4 Alderman Dan Tennessen were opposed.

Tennessen and Miguel also opposed consideration of a second reading at the Jan. 22 meeting. As a result, the second reading will be considered at a future meeting.

Stover said he had a “real good working relationship” with Lifeguards Unlimited, and the decision to switch to Midwest Pool Management “does entirely come down to a $34,000 difference over the four-year course of the contract.”

Renee Jeep, vice president of Lifeguards Unlimited, told the board she recognizes “money is the thing that this all comes down to.”

Jeep said Lifeguards Unlimited typically does not reach its “not to exceed” salary amount, which is $165,130. In Fenton, costs were 15.5 percent, or roughly $60,000 under not to exceed, and Manchester was 5.2 percent, or roughly $7,000 below.

“Using those numbers, we can anticipate falling below the not to exceed between 6.5 (percent) and 7 percent of next year’s not to exceed amount,” Jeep said.

Similarly, Bert Forde, of Midwest Pools Management, said other municipalities MPM contracts with come in under the not to exceed amount.

Kirkwood came in $9,000 less and Webster came in $7,500 less.

“It’s very common for us to be below the not-to-exceed salary budget …,” Forde said.

MPM’s base salary budget for 2013 is $158,611.

Jeep asked the board to consider Lifeguards Unlimited further, review its numbers and speak to other cities the company serves.

“Sticking with us would help maintain the information and leadership that exists in the staff that have been working, some of them for six years, at your pool …,” she said.

In 2005, Crestwood switched from Midwest Pool Management to Lifeguards Unlimited. Stover said at that time, there was a “significant difference” in the contract costs of roughly $20,000 per year in Lifeguard Unlimited’s favor.

Residents and nonresidents whose children currently are employed at the Aquatic Center through Lifeguards Unlimited ex-pressed concern about MPM hiring their children to continue working at the pool.

Forde told the board MPM would “actively pursue and recruit” Crestwood residents to work at the facility. Additionally, Forde said when MPM took over in Shrewsbury, Ellisville and Chesterfield after Lifeguards Unlimited managed the pools, “we did not see the mass exodus from the staff.”