LONDON, ONT. -- Pre-screening golfers and wiping down carts have become the responsibility of some municipal managers and salaried employees of city hall.

Golfers pressuring city council to re-open River Road Golf Course say some managers who normally toil away inside city hall, have been spotted working low-skill jobs at municipal golf courses this summer.

“This might be someone making $60,000 to $70,000 a year, essentially doing a job that otherwise would have been done by someone getting minimum wage or a little bit better,” says Angus Johnson, who golfs the two municipal courses operating this summer.

CTV News confirmed that managers and salaried municipal employees are being redeployed to Thames Valley Golf Course and Fanshawe Golf Course.

In April, city hall delayed the hiring of 11,000 seasonal and casual workers to reduce costs during the pandemic. So when municipal golf courses eventually opened, managing director of Parks & Recreation Scott Stafford redeployed some managers whose normal workloads decreased.

“Perhaps some of their jobs have three days a week of work, so they have two other days to help out,” explains Stafford. “And we have a commitment to our full time employees and managers.”

Their responsibilities include new measures that reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The list includes extra cleaning protocols, pre-screening golfers, and new precautions involving food and beverages.

Stafford suggests redeployment is more cost effective to city departments as a whole, fully utilizing managers whose workloads have declined during the pandemic. It means not having to hire seasonal staff.

Stafford says, “Less summer employees and (we’re) trying to ensure we are utilizing these full-time employees who have committed to us as full-time employees.”

London’s municipal golf system has been under considerable scrutiny this year, after city staff told council it wasn’t financially prudent to reopen River Road Golf Course this summer.

Johnson wonders if part of the calculation included the payment of higher-priced labour from municipal managers.

“They said it was going to cost $50,000 to $80,000 more to open this place up,” recalls Johnson. “But how that would be spent, who it would be spent on, (and) who was going to be hired for that money, I never got an inkling about that.”