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Not enough chiefs
A lack of leadership on the beach and a few other stories to read #50
I was back on the lifeguard beat this week, writing about the dearth of leadership on Rockaway Beach. Some lifeguards had told me a few weeks back that most of the shacks down there – the largest New York City beach, and the most dangerous – were without chiefs. You know the chiefs by their white polos, who usually walk up and down their stretch of sand to check on lifeguards and operations.
Unlike other civil service jobs, there is no exam or super formal process to becoming a chief or lieutenant. You do a certain number of years as a lifeguard and you’re supposed to qualify.
But all of the lifeguards I spoke to said it’s an opaque process by design. The bosses at the lifeguard school – who are enmeshed within the two locals out of DC 37 that represent lifeguards and supervisors – pick who they want to promote.
It’s unclear why there are so few chiefs left in Rockaway, even if some people pick favorites. As I write this late Friday, I heard from multiple lifeguards who said they received the emails Parks promised about promotions (THE CITY gets action, I hope.)
It might feel late in the season, but it’s better than not happening. There’s a lot of beach time left, and the ocean is cruel and dangerous — even more so as a sand replenishment and jetty-building project has created more rip currents and a more unstable terrain under the water, lifeguards told me.
There was one other sad update after I published the story. The swimmer who was rescued July 7 died the next day in the hospital, his friends and the medical examiner’s office later confirmed.
Nima Dhundup Lama was 32, and a graduate of Baruch College. His friends said he was a “true gem with the most sincere and loving soul, cherished and adored by all who knew him.” He worked most days but went out to the beach on his day off, a friend told me. And then, too fast, he was gone.
Stay safe out there and don’t swim without a lifeguard. And you can read more here.
✨Other interesting reads✨
We had another big week at THE CITY (become a member!) including:
Also: read this Brigid Bergin scoop about why the former chair of the Campaign Finance Board really stepped down. I’ve thought to myself many times this week, WHERE IS THE DYSON!!!! [GOTHAMIST/WNYC]
🎧 LISTEN 🎧
Errol Louis spoke to a few people, including the mayor, as we near the 20th anniversary of the murder of City Councilmember James Davis. It’s an excellent episode. [NY1]
And here’s some evergreen advice from my mom:
Thanks for reading!