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City privatizes crossing guards


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau has contracted its crossing guard services to a California company.

City leaders made the change this summer because a police lieutenant was spending 10 percent of his time coordinating crossing guards and police were pulling officers off of the street to fill in for crossing guards when they called in sick.

“It just wasn't efficient for us,” police Chief Jeff Hardel said.

The city hired All City Management Services to handle crossing guard duties. The company offered a job to every existing guard. All but one took the offer, Hardel said.

“They specialize in crossing guards and that's all they do,” he said.

The contract cost the city $18,000 more than it had budgeted for crossing guard services. But Hardel and other city leaders say the contract will pay for itself in the money the city will save on liability, workers compensation and other expenses.

Hardel admitted he should have consulted City Council members sooner about the contract. But he said the Council has given city departments broad authority in entering into contracts without Council oversight.

“I think you did the right thing,” police and fire commissioner Cheryl Bahr said during the commission's monthly meeting Tuesday. “The bottom line is the most important thing.”