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El Monte mayor wants to rehire 'Gangnam Style' lifeguards

 El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero says he supports rehiring the "Gangnam Style" lifeguards fired for making a video spoofing the Korean pop song and plans to urge his colleagues to do the same.

The lifeguards — 13 college-age students and their manager — were fired in September after their video "Lifeguard Style" surfaced on the Internet, showing the group using the city pool while wearing city-issued uniforms. Officials said the lifeguards did not have permission to do so.

They've since drawn local and global support through their Facebook page, which has more than 17,000 fans. Nearly 300 people packed a recent City Council meeting demanding that the guards be rehired.

Quintero said he will call for a formal vote at the Oct. 16 City Council meeting.

Quintero said Dayle Keller, interim city manager, has hired a contractor to review the steps leading to their termination "and as we do the investigation, we need them to cooperate" and the lifeguards "can't do that if they're not employed." Quintero hoped the investigation would be complete within a month.

"This is more than just about a video," he said, noting the need for a "deeper look at the management" of El Monte's aquatics center.

The mayor said he wondered "how can 14 people put together a video and no one from management knew what was going on?"

Lifeguard Michael Roa, 22, who worked at the center for seven years, said it's uplifting to hear Quintero talk about rehiring.

"I would say that his decision follows logic. For me, I would accept reinstatement, only if I could resign and get that off my record. I want to leave in good standing," he said.

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— Anh Do

Twitter: @newsterrier

 
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