Mayor sets sights on rejuvenating the local pool

Pool-lovers may well remember summer 2017 as the one that got away. For Big Timber pool officials, it was the summer of understaffing. With only two lifeguards on payroll, the city was forced to limit hours and sometimes close the pool altogether. 

City officials, including Mayor Rolland Karlin, are determined not to let it happen again. Now accepting applications, the city is seeking to have eight lifeguards hired by the end of March, if not earlier, according to the city clerk’s office. 

City council took the first step toward attracting more lifeguards last summer by raising the starting wage for a first-year lifeguard in 2018 to $10.50/hour, according to Clerk/Treasurer Gayle McPherson. 

The certification swim test presents another obstacle for prospective lifeguards. Six applicants failed the test in Bozeman and were not eligible for certification in 2017.  

It was more a problem of discipline rather than sheer swimming strength, with several applicants bringing a “racing mentality” to what was effectively an endurance test, Karlin said. 

To mitigate this problem of pacing, the city looks to ship this year’s applicants to a different swim test in Billings, where instructors offer a brief endurance lesson prior to the test.

For more of this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Big Timber Pioneer on newsstands now, or subscribe online at

PHOTO CAPTION: The city pool sits in a couple inches of snow this winter, but plans to get it fully staffed for the summer are in the works. (STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD / Big Timber Pioneer)

By CHRIS AIKEN/ Pioneer reporter



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