• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Pleasanton council bans resident from swimming pool

Updated: Jul 4

PLEASANTON – The Pleasanton City Council on Monday, June 20, sent a clear message to those who would flout the rules of the city swimming pool and those who would bully the lifeguards there. The council voted 4-0 to ban a woman from the pool.

The council also gave City Administrator Teresa Whitaker and Police Chief Tristan Snyder authority to temporarily ban others from the pool if similar incidents happened in between board meetings.

Whitaker told the council that she learned about a couple of incidents in which the woman, whom she identified as Stephanie Smith, disregarded the instructions of the lifeguards and attempted to intimidate them. Whitaker said the woman was also verbally abusive toward the lifeguards.

She said she was called to the pool by the lifeguards after the latest incident. After talking with the lifeguards on duty to find out what happened, Whitaker said she approached the woman and asked to speak to her privately. After they got to the concession area, she refused the suggestion they go outside of the facility to talk and began talking in front of the lifeguard.

Whitaker said the woman told her at least twice that she was 40 years old and wasn’t going to have some 15- or 16-year-old telling her what to do. The woman also said she disagreed with some of the lifeguards’ decisions, including one about banning swimming noodles from the deep end of the pool.

When the woman complained that rule wasn’t posted at the pool, Whitaker said she told her that many rules weren’t posted. She also pointed out that the lifeguards had received training.

Whitaker said the woman kept cutting her off when she tried to speak, and she told Whitaker she planned to come to talk to the council, however, she did not attend the meeting.

Three of the lifeguards did attend the meeting, though, and Jennifer Maze, the mother of one of the lifeguards, said her daughter was afraid to do her job. But to make matters worse, the lifeguards were unable to contact a pool manager or other city official about the situation.

“They were afraid because she was so aggressive,” Maze explained.

Whitaker apologized because they were not able to reach a manager or city official quickly during the situation. She also worried that the incident might prompt some of the lifeguards to quit because they were very upset at the situation. The pool is already open reduced hours this summer because the number of applicants for lifeguard positions was down.

The pool is closed two days a week because of the staffing shortages.

Councilman Jake Mattingley was particularly incensed at the situation, before making the motion to ban Smith from the pool indefinitely, he said any behavior like that to any of the lifeguards should not be tolerated.

He apologized to the lifeguards who attended the council meeting on behalf of the adults in the city.

Mayor Mike Frisbie asked if the protocol the council recently enacted for city employees that enables them to cut off dealing with people who are abusive could be extended to pool employees as well.

Brian Cook, an area resident who works for the City of Spring Hill, suggested that Pleasanton follow that city’s lead and install video cameras at the pool.

At the end of the meeting before adjournment and long after the previous discussion, Mattingley made the motion that gave Whitaker the authority to temporarily ban people from the pool for bullying and abusive behavior until the next council meeting where council members could hear the evidence and make a decision.

In a related note, the pool opened last week after being shut down for a few days by a mechanical failure that prevented the pools sand filter and chemical systems from working. Public Works supervisor Joey Morrisey said that he asked a pool consultant to take a look at Pleasanton’s aging pool to evaluate it.

Morrisey said the consultant praised the work that was being done to keep the nearly 60-year-old pool in operation. However, he also said that city needs to upgrade the filter and chemical system.

Mattingley worried that, if the pool needed to be replaced, the city wouldn’t have the $2 million it would take to put a new “hole in the ground.”

In other business, the council:

  • Gave consent for Morrisey to pursue a plan to install video cameras with remote feed at the city’s two lakes. Whitaker said that the cameras, which would require electrical power, would take footage that could be accessed by city officials online. She said it would take less time than keeping deer cameras operating.

  • Tabled a proposal by the Pleasanton Ball Association to mow the baseball fields for $150 a week. It was noted that city workers mowed the field once every seven to 10 days, which the council members deemed to be sufficient.

  • Approved spending $1,000 plus a $35 handling fee to be able take court payments online.

  • Approved waiving fees for use of the Pleasanton Community Building, closing Main Street for a 24-hour period and adopting a bring-your-own-beer policy for General Pleasonton Days, Sept. 30 through Oct. 1, 2022.

  • Discussed but declined to take action on making Juneteenth a holiday for city workers.

  • Approved a request by Ann Johnson of Linn County Liquor to set up and operate a beer garden at the next Thunder on the Street rally in 2023.

  • Learned that this year’s “Let Freedom Ring” event would likely be smaller this year because of lack of volunteers. The event will be during the day on July 2, followed by the city’s fireworks display that evening.

  • Approved a pair of resolutions concerning the abatement of codes violations at the residence at 355 Laurel Street. A hearing is set for 6 p.m. on Aug. 15 at City Hall.

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