Jones Beach lifeguards rally against layoffs

Dozens of lifeguards held a rally at Jones Beach Saturday, protesting state budget cuts that are expected to discontinue some services at local parks and slash 60 lifeguard jobs. "Jones Beach is a great

News 12 Staff

May 2, 2009, 11:30 PM

Updated 5,562 days ago

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Dozens of lifeguards held a rally at Jones Beach Saturday, protesting state budget cuts that are expected to discontinue some services at local parks and slash 60 lifeguard jobs.
"Jones Beach is a great place," says lifeguard Paul Reilly. "It's a great place to work. I can't believe the state would actually think about cutting it."
Under the proposed budget plan, the West End No. 2 Beach and the East Bathhouse pool will remain closed throughout the summer due to lack of funds. Hecksher, Hempstead Lake, and Caumsett State parks will also cut their hours of operation. State officials say the closures will save about $1.5 million a year.
However, State Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Freeport) says there is money to keep all the services and save the lifeguards' jobs, and Fuschillo is calling on Gov. David Paterson to use it.
"He has a $1 billion unallocated account in this year's state budget, which he could utilize to keep the parks system open, keep Jones Beach fully open," Fuschillo says.
Gary Rogers, of Massapequa, says he fears that laying off lifeguards may have deadly consequences.
"It's $275,000 to restore the funding to have the lifeguards here to make sure nobody dies," he says. "Is that worth it?"


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