Monday, December 5, 2016

Is your Holiday Fair Fun?

You’ve heard the saying Shop Local, well I really put it to the test shopping ‘til I drop at the schools, churches, community centers and libraries, supporting my nonprofits.  I buy almost all my gifts at these events and then I supplement by making calendars of photos I’ve taken throughout the year.  Of course, if you have a teen boy to buy for, it may not work completely for you and you may end up at the mall.  Power tools also don’t seem to be sold. 

As a management consultant, however, I’m always thinking about what makes sense.  Of course, the first question is: do these holiday fairs raise money?  You can, of course, add up how much you make.  That doesn’t require a consultant. 

That brings me to an issue I can help you with.  Is there a purpose to your holiday fair?  I’m dismayed there are no signs informing me about a goal or purpose. I suppose they assume it is a given that the money helps the community center or daycare or library.  Of the many fairs I attended this November and December, my local high school fair was the only one with a purpose and I’m jealous; it was to raise funds for the kids to go to Guatemala.  Even the church fair, temporarily in the local firehouse, didn’t have a sign even though I full well know that the church is remodeling its kitchen and community room. 

I recently read that nonprofits are increasingly using twitter to raise money.  Since these are short bursts of information, the nonprofit must keep to the point, something like only $2,000 to reach our goal for a new gym.  A simple sign as you enter the holiday fair might do the same   Of course, I’ll still go no matter.

Maybe the purpose is tied to tradition and emotions.  It’s fun to shop, get together, and have a homemade doughnut or muffin in the morning at one fair and wind up at another fair to have chowder or soup with friends, acquaintances, and parishioners.  That doesn’t mean your nonprofit board shouldn’t look at the cost and commitment.  I was concerned when I saw one of the libarians volunteering her time at the holiday book sale.    Librarians don’t get paid much and to volunteer is a commitment. 

My question to your board is: is the holiday fair fun for volunteers and staff?  I hope you answered yes, because I’ll be there!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Is Your Nonprofit Trustworthy

It’s that time of year when individual nonprofits, the United Way, and alternative organizations to the United Way are sending letters and are working with employers to solicit donations.  New nonprofits seem to be popping up to ask for funds.  The public often assesses nonprofits simply by familiarity, word-of-mouth, the visibility in the community or increasingly by websites and Facebook pages.  Something new has popped up to turn our direction toward nonprofits, #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  It urges us to volunteer and donate in our area rather than simply spending our money on Black Friday.   

Since the public values nonprofits because we trust them, you might want to consider what your website and Facebook page says about you.   Are you transparent in your actions and do you tell donors how you use donations? 

The first stumbling block is whether the public can tell you are a nonprofit.  This summer I donated some materials and photos to four historical societies.  I’m familiar enough to know that historical societies are nonprofit, but I’d be hard pressed, except for the donate button, to know that two of the four were nonprofit.  Some nonprofits, particularly colleges use the term private, but this confuses the situation as for-profit colleges have come under serious scrutiny.  In a study I did of 104 nonprofits, I searched for the words nonprofit, non-profit, not-for-profit, charity, tax-exempt, 990, 501(c)3, or United Way member.  A little over half had such an indication.  A visitor to your website could look for an annual report, a link or a post of 990 form, or even a page that states how donations were used.  Only 39% indicated the purpose for donations.  Perhaps, less specific, your nonprofit could have a code of ethics, a list of board members, its mission, or even historical information to let visitors know of your status.  If you are missing some of this information you are not alone. 

Could a potential donor find your executive’s name, email, or phone number?  In my study, many nonprofits made it difficult.  I think contact information is sometimes missing because we all get bombarded with emails, but if email is overwhelming, a phone number would help. 

Being transparent and trustworthy is your function.  For a small nonprofit, it will mean re-working the website to ensure you are clearly identified as a nonprofit.  Once done, the type of information I am talking about should be more or less permanent with updates yearly for, say, an annual report. You’ll be more likely to connect with young people who are less familiar with the differences between government, private and nonprofit sectors.

I visited and GuideStar, the search that provides 990 forms of nonprofits,  I did not find any indication that GivingTuesday  was a nonprofit except that it was founded by the 92nd St Y and many people listed on the website have given money to support it.  When I emailed the website, I learned that it is a "project created and run by the 92Y Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact."

What did you find missing at your nonprofit’s website? 
For assistance, please contact me at Management.Vision 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Decline of the Pink Collar Worker

The 37.5 Hour Work Week

I visited a vice president at a private nonprofit college one time. He seemed particularly pleased to tell me that he had no administrative assistant.  He answered his own phone.  I know another professional who is constantly photocopying and preparing report materials because there is no clerical support.  I’m sure that you have visited a government agency or university that has a receptionist or administrative assistant in the middle of the hall.  You’ve come across a locked door and had to use an intercom and be buzzed in.  You may have had to be the receptionist and talked to visitors, clients, or customers because you had no support person to do so.  Of course, we all have become accustomed to the ubiquitous, press 1 if you want…, press 2 if you would like to speak to, etc.

Some of these situations have occurred for efficiency.  We all have computers and cell phones to keep in touch with staff, clients, customers.  Some of these situations have been occurred purportedly for security.  Now with the new Fair Labor Standards Act rules going into effect Dec 1 that will require you to pay overtime to once professional exempt workers, you may be thinking about whether you need that clerical help again, this time to save money. 

We just went through an election cycle when politicians bemoaned the loss of manufacturing jobs and offered solutions.  The decline of manufacturing, however, is nothing new.  Nor is the decline of the pink collar worker, but few talk about the situation.  

Are there other ways to approach the changes in exempt and non-exempt status of your employees besides laying off?  Sure FLSA experts and Management.Vision will tell you to conduct a job analysis to consider whether the jobs are truly doing exempt or non-exempt work but, for the most part, your professionals at the lower end will become eligible for overtime. 

Think about the flip side, how much time your executives and professionals will spend on clerical work with a loss of a pink collar worker.  No executive or professional is going to  
admit the time they spend on clerical work.  Consider what impression you make not having an available receptionist. 

How about shortening the forty hour week?  There is no law that says your work week must be forty hours.  I have worked in places that have had a 37.5 hour work week and a 35 hour work week. I know some employers who have used a 39 hour work week. Who wouldn't like to go home an hour early on Friday.  I’ve seen the 37.5 hour work week successful in a nonprofit hospital including for the nursing staff. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to pay overtime and certainly hospitals do, but you just might save a job, keep good customer relations, and keep down that expensive wage for your professionals to do clerical work.  Cutting the work week and saving jobs may not work in all nonprofits and government agencies but it might work for yours.  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Religious Discrimination and 9/11

Not too long after 9/11, I began collecting data on discrimination based upon religion.  As one might expect discrimination against Muslims increased, but also of those who were perceived to be Muslim such as Sikhs.  Sikh men often wear a turban and have a beard.  Since that time, we have struggled with how to accommodate those who have clothing or other indications (crosses, yarmulkes, head scarfs) that indicate their faith.  As we remember those public safety officers who died in 9/11, we know that public safety agencies have particularly struggled with accommodation.  

Countries, because of their constitutions, have taken different approaches.  France, defined in its constitution as a secular republic, and a policy of laicism, supports religious neutrality by its public servants.  Canada, with its Charter of Rights, has hesitantly at first but regularly sought to accommodate minority religious groups in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Sikhs in the 1990s and now in 2016 Muslim women who wish to wear the hijab (head scarf).  One of policy reasons for accommodation is that the RCMP needs to have officers who represent the different publics.  The United States has taken a different approach, one that involves the courts.  In Kimberlie Webb v City of Philadelphia (2009), the court ruled the city didn’t have to accommodate a Muslim police officer’s desire to wear a head scarf while on duty.  Allowing her to wear it would affect the appearance of neutrality and impartiality and the ability of the public to identify her as a police officer.  Beards on male officers have caused equal controversy.  The courts in the United States have ruled that safety outweighs any religious accommodation.  Religious wear cannot harm the employee’s own safety or others.  It’s a matter of common sense. 

Whether you think more about including or excluding definitely depends upon circumstances, but in public organizations, we need people who speak different languages, are of different ethnicities and races and of different religions.  Employers who think more about a faith-friendly workplace think more about inclusion than exclusion.  It’s part of what David Miller describes as the "faith at work” movement.  Miller characterizes the faith at work movement as a quest for integration of work and faith.  Because the people of the United States are some of the most religious people in developed countries, many employers see the value of religion as creating a strong work ethic, moral grounding and a platform for business ethics that will help guide decisions in the workplace rather than a legal issue. 

Does that sound reasonable to you? For assistance in devising a workplace that is accommodating, consult Management.Vision

For more information
RCMP allows Muslim women Mounties to wear hijab

See my work on religious diversity
“Religious Diversity in the Workplace” Handbook of Work and Quality of Life: Ethical Practices in Organizations, edited by Nora Reilly, M. Joseph Sirgy, and C. Allen Gorman; New York: Springer Publishers, 2012.

Approaches to Religion in the Workplace and Quality of Worklife: Religious Expression in the Workplace The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
Volume 1, Issue 3, 2011 pp.145-158.

"Policing In A Westernized Arab Country: Comparisons With the United States" NEASCU Clipboard. (Spring 2010).

“Accommodating Islam in Law Enforcement.” Law Enforcement Executive Forum.  May 2005.

“Diversity in Religious Practice: Implications of Islamic Values in the Public Workplace.”  And Akhlaque Haque.  Public Personnel Management. 32 (June 2003): 315-331. 

“Accommodating Islamic Religious Practices in the Workplace.”  And Akhlaque Haque.  PA Times. November 2003, p. 5.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New On-line HR course for government and nonprofits

PPM 632 Human Resource Management
for Public, Nonprofit, and Health Organizations

On-line (3 credits)

Class Begins Thursday, Sept 1, 2016

Managing human resources in any organization is one of the top management responsibilities whether you are in a public, nonprofit or health organization.  Yet it is fraught with fads.  Ever wonder why a policy is written in a particular way?  Ever wonder how you motivate employees?  We'll answer these questions and more and help you figure out whether the latest fad or gimmick is going to last.  

This course is designed using a competency based approach.  A particular emphasis is placed on understanding motivation; equal employment opportunity law; wage systems; and succession planning.

Who should take this course?

Consider this course if you are or intend to be a manager. Most people will not be working in HR, but you will be supervising others sometime in your career.

Technology needs: Course conducted using the university’s web-based educational delivery system called “BlackBoard.”  Access to a high-speed internet connection is required. 

Books: Books include Drive, Daniel Pink; Getting to Yes, Fisher and Ury; Dresang, Dennis, Personnel Management in Government Agencies and Nonprofit Organizations.

Cost:  $1140 plus $139 in fees

Course Instructor: Carolyn Ball, PhD, Associate Professor, USM, Muskie School of Public Service, has taught HR for over 23 years and has worked in the field.  She has written several scholarly articles on workforce issues, in particular on workforce diversity and discrimination.

To register: Registration is easy; tel: 207-780-5230 or   Students enrolling in this class must hold a bachelor's degree. For more information on the course, contact the instructor at

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Have we forfeited supervisory and administrative responsibility 
by giving too many holidays with pay?

Who doesn't love a holiday off.

This year the 4th of July holiday was easier for employers to schedule since it fell on a Monday, but you may have had people call in sick or take another day off causing some disruption.  One year I called in sick the day after the 4th of July.  This is a no no.  According to policy I was to bring in a note from my doctor or lose out on the pay.  It was doubly embarrassing because I worked for Human Resources! 

When I worked at a university as a professor whether employees had Martin Luther King day off varied from year to year.  Some years classes weren’t scheduled so professors didn’t come in.  On other years, support staff had the day off, but classes were running.  A newly merged YMCA-YWCA closed for Martin Luther King day in keeping with the YWCA mission to end racism.  Later years, it remained open but had special events to honor MLK.  Many employees take the week of the 4th off for summer vacation so it is a planned vacation.  A lot of governments give the day off Thanksgiving even though it is not a scheduled holiday.  Watch next year to see if your governor gives state employees these days off.  For some nonprofits, those with pools or camps, its full steam ahead on the 4th. No day off.  These decisions show the many issues nonprofit and government employers face when it comes to a holiday.  

A town manager I know presented the cost of giving an extra day off to employees.  With spreadsheets and query programs, you can figure out exactly how much it costs in wages and benefits to give employees an extra holiday.  Even with the cost most nonprofit and government employers no longer bother to force their non-exempt employees to do without pay if they are sick the day after a holiday.  They bite the bullet and eat the cost.  

Others have opted for Paid Time Off (PTO) combining sick, vacation, bereavement, other leaves, and sometime holidays.  Rolling in holidays allows employees to choose what holidays are important.  (Employees with children in school may want Columbus Day off when their kids are off but others don’t care.)  PTO avoids a managerial problem of having to actually supervise employees and a bureaucratic problem of ensuring employees are using their sick time for sickness or family sickness.  The downside is that when an employee leaves they are owed for time unused whereas when leaves are separate, employees are only owed only for vacation time.  (Of course, some employers also pay out unused sick time but that isn’t required.)

Employers justify giving, say, the day after Thanksgiving or the day before Christmas assuming that very little work is actually done.  I think they are right.  Except those working in healthcare, nonprofit and government employees are very lucky to have these extra days.  

Is this a good enough reason, low productivity, or are we opting out of managing employee expectations, managing employee sick time at the expense of taxpayers, members, clients?  What do you think?  By the way, my employer, a hospital, did pay me without requiring a doctor’s note.  The town council approved a day off after Thanksgiving.

If you would like a review of your policies for compatibility with your mission and with your finances, please contact us at

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Words Matter. Definitions Matter

Words matter. Definitions matter. Have you ever said one thing only to be completely misunderstood? That's why all legislation has a series of definitions right up front. You have definitions in many of your policies even though you don't have a definitions section. Even with definitions, employees can be confused. When do I have enough time to go on vacation?

My Dad was a veteran and the family decided to get a maker for his grave. I think I, my brother, and our spouses all imagined a marker you would put on a pole.  My brother received the package from Veterans Affairs, Memorial Program Service, but hadn't opened it up before he visited me. His wife thought it was quite heavy and large but didn't think too much about it. This Memorial weekend we opened the package ready to go to the cemetery. Imagine our surprise when we received a large brass plaque, one to place on a grave stone or to put directly in the ground. We had to laugh on this Memorial weekend. Have you had an experience where words mattered? Funny or serious?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Comparing Presidential Leadership to Nonprofit Leadership

Is it Image, Issues or Ideology that Makes a Great Leader?

We are past the half way mark in the primaries/caucuses for both parties.  Perhaps we can compare our nonprofit leaders with how voters think about political candidates, our political leaders. Mid-century political scientists developed a formula to predict the vote based upon three factors: how voters evaluated a candidate's image, issue positions, and the voter’s political party or party identification. 
Warren Bennis, Leadership author

The formula doesn't work as well in the 21st century since more of us identify as Independents, but it's a good exercise in looking at leadership from different perspectives.  Leadership and management theorists have had an equally tough time figuring out how to assess a great leader.  Right now management literature emphasizes leadership style. 

Let's take a look at the formula and apply it to our nonprofit managers.  When we think of candidate image we often think about whether he or she is charismatic, inspiring, likable, trustworthy. Those are characteristics we might ascribe to the president or director of our nonprofit, too. Nowadays, we seem to focus on the negative characteristics but for the exercise think about the positives.

The second part of the formula is issues. We vote for the candidate who takes issue positions we favor.  In politics we often split issues down to the economy and foreign policy. It's not that you and I have to know the details of a candidate's immigration policy, position on more or fewer troops in Syria, or position on job creation.  It's whether we agree or disagree in general with the most prominent policies being discussed by the candidates. Applying it to the nonprofit executive, the focus he takes on the budget and fund raising or the kids, the members, the day-to-day operations of the nonprofit meshes with what you value. Ignore some of those minor disappointments or disagreements for the purpose of this exercise.

The third part of the formula is party identification, your ideology.  You might know whether your president or director is a Republican, Democrat, or Independent and you might agree or disagree.  This third part, translates better as her vision, a belief in the mission and vision of the nonprofit.  The director walks the talk. She seeks input. Or she emphasizes the need to run the organization like a business with standardized policies and places less emphasis on the actual mission.  The organization is well managed and not chaotic and that is what is important in her vision.  If you share a similar ideology, you’re more likely to think of the exec as a leader.  

Put the three parts of the formula together.  Think of your boss. What characteristics do you like/dislike, her image? What goals or policies are in the strategic plan that you like or don't like, the issues?  What is her belief in the mission and vision, her ideology?  In this formula, you’ll consider her a great leader if the image she portrays, the issues she prioritizes, and her ideology match what’s important to you. Now would you vote for her if you had a chance?  Is there something missing from the formula? 

For a great author on leadership, see the works of Warren Bennis. Two of my favorites are On Leadership and Why Leaders can't Lead

Monday, April 18, 2016

Could you become a citizen?

I recently had the honor of attending a citizenship ceremony.  It was absolutely wonderful. There were 26 future citizens from 12 different countries.  A chorus from a local high school sang a serenade of three patriotic songs.  It made me tearful and proud.  Of course, the chorus sang the Star Spangled Banner as the audience and new citizens sang.

Bangor High School Chorus

One of the judges told about his family's emigration from Italy to the United States and how it affected his life.

What I found most surprising was the oath.

Getting her citizenship certificate
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

I had no idea as a native born that the Oath placed an emphasis on your support of the military, defending the United States.  The Oath values, not democracy, equality, freedom, liberty, but your general support of the Constitution.  Take a look at the words, "defend the Constitution and the laws...against all enemies", "bear arms", "perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces",
Mary Calder, citizen

My friend became a citizen is in her early 60s (I'm in my 60s too) so she's probably not going to join the military.  She's a nurse so she is definitely serving her new country.

If you were writing the oath, what would you put in it?  What would you emphasize?

Management.Vision emphasizes practical and proven methods to ensure a better work environment.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Right to Privacy of Government Employees

Snooping on the San Bernardino Shooter as a Public Management Responsibility

The IPhone and San Bernardino shooter controversy has an important facet that is not as often discussed. The news has focused on the Apple’s desire to protect the privacy of its customers.  However, Sayed Farook was not an Apple Customer.  The customer was San Bernardino County.  The County gave its permission to the FBI to investigate his phone.   Does a public employer have the right to snoop in a public employee's desk, phone, computer?  Should I even call it snooping?

In some ways, public employees have more protections of their privacy than private sector employees.  The Fourth amendment gives public employees rights against unreasonable search and seizure and by extension a reasonable right to privacy.  In the case of a phone issued by San Bernardino to conduct public business, Farook, had little expectation of privacy.  The Courts balance “[public] employees’ legitimate expectations of privacy against the government’s need for supervision, control, and the efficient operation of the workplace.” (O’Connor v Ortega 1987). The phone was to be used for government business so it makes sense that the County would supervise and control the Iphone.

If you look at the government’s motion [for Apple] to comply, it is strictly about its authority under the All Writs Act to obtain compliance. Apple’s response indicates that it doesn’t support terrorists, it has complied thus far, and it needs to protect the privacy of its customers by not creating a backdoor means to open the iPhone.  The fact that the phone is owned by a government entity is not mentioned in either party's proceedings.

Although it is interesting for us to speculate whether we agree with the position of the government or with Apple, a manager needs to consider what responsibilities and rights he or she has to investigate a public employee's workplace.  I suspect that the FBI also went through Farook's work computer, work phone (land line) and desk as well as the provided cell phone. The Courts tend to favor balancing tests, is it reasonable vs an employee’s right to privacy.  Your best bet then is to consider whether the search is work related and not excessively intrusive (Quon v Ontario 2010).  Is it reasonable to search a public employee’s electronic communication? The Supreme Court said yes to search a pager and employers whether public or private have been able to investigate an employee's download habits that yield visits to porn sites.

For the government's and Apple's position, go to
If you would like a consultation, please contact me at

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Should you advertise your nonprofit as employment at will?

Should you advertise that you are employment at will?

While I was attending a school board meeting, a superintendent differentiated his staff from the unionized school staff as employment-at-will.  Employment at will means that you can terminate an employee at any time for any reason.  He was actually wrong about his status and that of his staff.  He has a contract.  If his employer, the school board, decides to dismiss him at any time, then it has violated the contract.  I’ve seen this time and time again in local government.  Local governments are surprised when they have to pay a town manager when they’ve violated the contract they sign. Second, public sector employees have constitutional due process right to their job.  In effect that means that the public employer has to provide some sort of grievance procedure, an appeal procedure of some sort. 

It’s true that the remainder of employers are employers-at-will with the caveat of those with employees who have a union contract or individual contract.  Most courts have upheld this common law principle with very few exceptions, even whistleblowers lack protection according to NY courts.  This is good news for the nonprofit (or private sector employer) that wants to be free of interventions.  Do you have a statement to this fact on, say, your application, in an employee handbook, or letter of a job offering?  Do you make new employees sign a statement that the offer letter or employee handbook does not constitute a contract?  If so, then you are highlighting your right of employment at will.  Now take a look at your policies? Do they conflict with this idea?  Do you actually want to be known as an employer-at-will? 

Do you have
  • An individual or union contract with any employees
  • Grievance procedure
  • EEO policy (you can’t fire a person based upon Sex, National Origin, Race, Religion, Color, Disability, Age, and in some states Sexual Orientation)
  • An introductory period or probationary period
  • An evaluation process, a promotion process based upon favorable evaluations
  • A disciplinary process
  • An exit interview process

All these policies are the types of policies your lawyer on your board would recommend you have, but they send a decidedly different message from prominently stating your right to be an employment-at-will. 

As you review your policies, consider what you are trying to do.  Is employment-at-will the policy you most want to highlight.  If so, then you might want to eliminate some of the policies highlighted above.  If not, then you might highlight your mission, your good reputation as an employer, your family friendly policies, great benefits, or satisfied employees.

No matter what you decide, your employees who are let go without cause or documentation are eligible for unemployment.  Firing for no apparent reason will most certainly cause you to pay unemployment no matter what state you are in and no matter whether you say you are employment-at-will or not.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Should you pay volunteers?

Can you have paid volunteers?  

Isn't that an oxymoron?

It has long been custom to pay volunteer firefighters for the time they spend training, attending training, for accommodations, travel, and meals if the training is a distance.  That is the custom in many other nonprofits as well.  In addition, firefighters sometimes receive a stipend for the time they work on a fire, usually a flat amount.

Firefighters whether paid or volunteer love their job.Talk to any firefighter about the last job he or she was on and you'll see.  That doesn't mean they can't gripe, but they are admittedly a pretty satisfied group with their jobs.

Fire departments are running into a problem even with the dedicated volunteers.  There just aren't enough of them.  Fire departments recruit  new volunteers by word of mouth. That's been a pretty good way. Firefighters are highly visible in any community.   I got into a conversation with an employee at a local business in a neighboring town and suggested she talk to our chief about volunteering.  I did that even though I'm not a volunteer, just know lots of them. Fire departments have actively set up junior firefighter programs to help with a pipeline of the next recruits.   If you are familiar with the Rotary, a service organization, it too has set up a pipeline of young people, Rotaract,  who may join the Rotary in the future.

Even with the most ambitious plans, rural and suburban fire departments are increasingly finding it difficult to find enough recruits.  In Vacationland,Maine, (where I am writing this) many communities have the additional problem of losing not only jobs half the year, but population as well. That doesn't mean they need half the firefighters.  There are still 24 hours in a day.  Some of  lack of new recruits  is due to the decline in independent businesses. Employees can no longer take time away from their jobs.  It also has to do with the loss of jobs in our small communities.  It's not uncommon for fire fighters to live in one community and work in another and even volunteer as a firefighter in both communities.  Still that means that many firefighters are not available at the drop of a hat, that is the call over the phone or whatever communication device the fire department uses.  ay.

That leads to the incremental use of more paid firefighters.  Firefighting has long been a skilled practice with new ways and means of fighting being developed, more and more involvement in emergency planning, and even cross training with EMTs and police.  It makes sense that a small departments may now need a professional chief responsible for insurance issues, equipment depreciation, training, etc.  Then a fire department might need a paid Asst. Chief.

You can see where I 'm going now.  One department near  me is considering paying an on-call hourly wage initially of $8.00 for a minimum of two hours to volunteers.  Its an attempt to provide an incentive for more to volunteer.  The proposal also calls for hiring additional full time firefighters at a competitive rate.  Now you are seeing the problem.

Alfie Kohn, has said in Punished by Rewards, that incentives can often be a disincentive, reducing self-motivation.  So oddly enough paying volunteers to work along side paid firefighters, may not work, particularly as volunteers are paid about half of what a full-time firefighter would is paid.
So what is a fire department to do or any other volunteer agency that relies primarily on volunteers to deliver its primary service?  Paying volunteers more won't change the basic structural problems in our rural communities, an older population and a lack of jobs to keep younger volunteers in the community. This then though not the best solution will buy time while considering the costs of a full-time department. For the full article, see