First, the ACS or RACES Officer (i.e., the chief administrative officer) is chosen and appointed by the paid-staff official that is the government link to the unit. That official may ask for names of possible selections but his/her decision is final. It is best if the person chosen has had effective management experience.
As to other staff, the choice is normally left to the chief officer thus appointed. In many situations he/she may be the only one who makes the decision, while in other units the key staff is chosen by consultation between the unit coordinator and the ACS or RACES Officer.
Stan Harter, the first paid-staff coordinator for the RACES and ACS programs in California, maintained that staff is NEVER to be selected by vote of unit participants. This was based on his work with RACES for over 35 years as coordinator for two states. From my 40 years as a senior executive and CEO (and as an officer in several volunteer organizations over that same time period) I agree, for good management is rarely obtained by participant vote.
The METHOD of unit organization may be along normal management models, or it can be unique. In California, where the ICS system is mandated for RESPONSE units, unit STRUCTURE may be according to the ICS (Incident Command System) model. Alternately, it may be a normal management structure that can shift to the ICS model or RESPONSE activities.
Now for examples. The ACS unit serving the California Highway Patrol in the Inland Empire area of Southern California is organized along the ICS model:
- ARO Operations: A Group Leader for each of the four (4) different geographic areas
- ARO Planning: Alternate Radio Group Leader and a SOP/Policy Group Leader
- ARO Logistics: Equipment Group Leader; Repeater Coordination Group Leader
- ARO Administration: Records and Reports Group Leader; Personnel Group Leader (process applications, maintain personnel files/records, current roster)