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YMCA to run city pool

January 20, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Allegations of alcohol and drug use last summer by some of the employees at Claude M. Potterfield Pool in Hagerstown have prompted city officials to transfer the pool's management to the YMCA, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said after a City Council work session Tuesday.

He said the allegations also included hiring lifeguards who weren't certified properly by the American Red Cross.

"We did a review of our operations that began in the late summer," Zimmerman said. "We identified issues that needed to be addressed."

Zimmerman said the review began after some parents came forward and complained about inappropriate activities at the pool.

The city's review did not include a rape that allegedly occurred last August in a Hagerstown apartment that police believe involved a male lifeguard and one of his female co-workers, Zimmerman said.

Adam E. Deiseroth, 20, of Winchester, Va., has been charged with one count each of second-degree rape, second-degree assault, second-degree sex offense and fourth-degree sex offense in connection with the alleged incident.

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Deiseroth's hearing is scheduled for Feb. 3 in Washington County Circuit Court.

Zimmerman said the Hagerstown Police Department is handling the rape investigation.

Some of the lifeguards were certified last year by the pool staff, Zimmerman said. In a few cases, the certifications did not meet Red Cross standards.

"The lifeguards went through a process, but not one required by the Red Cross," Zimmerman said. "They went through a process guided by the city's pool management. They thought they were following the right process. It turned out they weren't following Red Cross procedures."

During the work session, Zimmerman said the contract to hire the YMCA would cost the city about $12,000 to $15,000.

"We don't see this as increasing our costs," Zimmerman said.

As part of the agreement, the YMCA will "provide evidence of insurance of $1 million," according to city documents.

Zimmerman said City Recreation Facilities Manager Lewie Thomas, who was in charge of running the pool last year, will "oversee the contract, but the lifeguards will report to the (YMCA)."

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