IN YOUR CORNER: Lifeguards not properly paid at Edmond city pool

In Your Corner

EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Should you pop by Edmond for a quick swim, you may pop by Pelican Bay Aquatic Center.

For the last three summers, Anna Robertson and Langlee Brown have worked the stand.

They hoped to help make ends meet, before going back to the University of Oklahoma in the fall.

“We put in a ton of hours of the summer,” explained Anna.

But they only got paid for part of the work. They’re both missing hundreds of earned dollars, and they’re not alone.

“Every person that worked there this summer had issues with their paychecks,” said Anna.

Long story short, Anna and Langlee say the pool’s clock in system was inconsistent.

When paycheck after paycheck came up short, management left them high and dry.

“They would say we’ll get them resolved,” added Anna. “We’ll get them resolved, and they never got resolved.”

While owned by the City of Edmond, Pelican Bay is operated by outside contractors.

Georgia-based USA Management LLC took over operations this past summer.

“This new company was super strict,” said Anna. “Very just, unorganized, very unorganized.”

So we did a deep dive into USA Management, as did Anna and Langlee.

A quick Google search found a troubling trend, with a one-star Yelp review average, and a B- rating with the BBB.

City leaders from other areas had similar complaints, citing lack of employee pay from the company.

There was also a situation in New Jersey, where lifeguards walked off the job over non-payment.

Further problems plagued the company back home in Georgia.

WXIA in Georgia reported years ago after the city of Brookhaven severed their ties with a sister company of USA Management, USA Pools.

This came about after a 14-year-old nearly drowned. The company faced accusations of having improperly trained lifeguards.

The man in charge of both companies, Troy Legg, did not respond to our many requests for comment.

Anna and Langlee, though, say the same lifeguard problems plagued Pelican Bay, as frustrated certified lifeguards quit.

“They would start bringing in new people who hadn’t actually been certified yet to life guard,” said Anna.

“It’s extremely dangerous to lifeguard when you don’t know anything,” said Langlee.

So how did USA Management get the bid in Edmond? In a statement to KFOR, city leaders say USA Management was one of three companies interviewed:

“As for the selection process, three different companies were interviewed based upon responses we received from our RFQ process.  The company that was selected was interviewed and we checked their references and visited with other cities that they had done work with previously.  Ultimately, they were selected but they will not be renewed for this next season.  Staff is working on getting the RFQ process started soon in order for us to select a new contractor early enough for them to get settled in and have the best chance to be successful in managing Pelican Bay.”

City of Edmond

You’ll notice that the city also says they will not be renewing their deal with USA Management.

Anna’s mother, Lisa Robertson, is a local collections attorney. She’s hoping to chase down the lost wages through an Oklahoma Department of Labor Dispute.

“Oh, I’m beyond frustrated,” Lisa said. “The pool company got paid, so these kids deserve to be paid.”

So far, there has been success on the state level. A Labor Compliance Officer ruled recently in Anna’s favor for more than $800.

Problem now is having USA Management pay up, and Lisa says she’s not giving up.

“It’s the principle of the point that these kids, and especially kids, they work hard for a little bit of money,” she said.

If you are a former employee of Pelican Bay and would like to file a wage complaint, go to the Oklahoma Department of Labor website.

In Your Corner also asked Edmond for comment on lifeguards not being properly paid at an Edmond City pool, but we’re told they can’t comment due to it being a dispute between employees and a private contractor.

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