Implementing job descriptions for volunteers has and continues to be a frequent conversation in a number of forums. There are many different models for managing an organization, attracting new members, and the selection process for officers. Having a standard, fair, and accepted process that motivates members to seek professional development and growth will be attractive to potential members and help assure you have strong leadership in place.  
Many organizations continue to use a common majority vote to select their officers and accept new firefighters. However, what is perceived by many as being a “fair” more professional method is to have a written process that includes job descriptions.
It is common for members to push back when approached with the idea of including job descriptions in the selection process for officers and firefighters. It is important to understand why the resistance exists. When members, especially veteran members, hear the words “We need to develop job descriptions” the common internal response is that you are implying they do not know how to do their job or that they are doing their job poorly.
Those in positions of leadership may feel threatened and become concerned that the job description will include skills or certifications they do not have. Those aspiring to become officers may fear the requirements will be too stringent and prevent them from moving up the proverbial ladder.
These fears are real and it is imperative that you recognize and acknowledge them. Do not attempt to minimize these fears by saying “oh don’t worry, this won’t affect you” doing so will only magnify the fear, reduce your credibility, and increase the resistance to change.
As with any change – communication is the KEY! You must assure everyone that doing this will improve the organization and prepare it for long-term success. Emphasize that you are not trying to remove any current officers or prevent any individual from being able to further their career interests.
Include key firefighters and officers in developing a long-term plan. Understand that too much change – too fast, will fail. A change of this nature must be implemented in phases. The amount of change and the length of time between each phase will depend on the culture of your organization and its ability to adapt.

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