Managing conflict between career and volunteer members in a combination department can be challenging at times. Left unchecked, the conflict can destroy a department and create an environment of hate and discontent.
I’ve spent my career working in combination departments and many hours listening to and addressing issues that emerge between volunteer and career staff. As I travel with the VCOS and engage with other combination departments, I find that some of the challenges are the same; the only variable are the names and faces. One of the more frequent complaints is the real or perceived idea that one group doesn’t respect the other. Sometimes this feeling of a lack of respect can manifest into strong feelings and, quite frankly, stupid actions — all based on an assumption or emotion that in some cases is totally blown out of proportion.