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Friends Southwestern Burial Ground (FSWBG) Managing Director Job Description

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Friends Southwestern Burial Ground (FSWBG)

Managing Director

Job Description

General Job Description: This is the top managerial position for the Burial Ground and is responsible for overseeing all operations, including managing staff, relationships with outside organizations (funeral directors, Upper Darby Police, St. Demetrios, community gardeners, etc.), contracting (tree work, mowing, etc.), and outreach with Quaker meetings and other Quaker organizations. The director will also be responsible for overseeing and conducting burials and all attendant preparation and paperwork on the days which they are scheduled to work. Reports to the Friends Southwestern Burial Ground Committee (“FSWBG Committee”). The Burial Ground operates under the oversight of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (CPMM) and Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia (MMFP).


  • Exempt (paid on a salary basis)
  • Work hours – 5 days a week, “on-call” from 7am to 7pm, actively engaged in work tasks an average of 7 hours a day.
  • The Managing Director is expected to live in the three bedroom house located on the burial grounds property, primarily for the benefit of the FSWBG but also as a non-taxable benefit to the employee.
  • Competitive salary and benefits.

Detailed Job Description:

  • Liaison and maintain relationships with Funeral Directors for burials
    • Maintain and build relationships with funeral directors.
    • Explain to new funeral directors the requirements and procedures of FSWBG: Muslim burials and green/non-vault burials.
    • Answer the phone during business hours (7am – 7pm), return messages promptly in the morning if received after 7pm.
  • Manage staff and grave preparation
    • Recruit, hire, train, and supervise all diggers, ensuring that new hires understand the requirements and policies of FSWBG.
    • Schedule and manage diggers to make sure that 3-5 graves are prepared and ready for use.
    • Check the diggers’ work, taking action to correct any problems.
    • Amend graves if a special size or orientation is needed immediately prior to a burial.
    • Ensure safety at worksites, including to prevent collapses and to ensure unused graves sites are covered, and manage and handle issues during adverse weather. 
  • Manage compliance, permitting and paperwork
    • Prepare and submit all applicable state, local permits, records, receipts, and ensure that data is correct and backed up as a hard copy and digitally through the Meeting Office.
  • Prepare for and complete burials
    • Schedule, assign and manage competent staff at the burial for necessary duties, and delegate those duties. This may include operating the lowering device, assisting with refilling graves and neatening areas after burial, and parking management.
    • Recruit, hire, train, and manage burial assistants.
    • Obtain necessary information about the burial from funeral directors (special size or condition of the body, expected number of attenders, whether mourners need assistance refilling burial holes).
    • Make sure each burial area is neat, chairs are available, and parking is clearly marked, with parking assistants on site if a large crowd is expected.
    • Coordinate with St. Demetrios and Upper Darby Police if overflow parking is needed.
    • Ensure each grave is filled and neatened after a burial and that the remaining soil is moved to the appropriate on-site location.
    • Manage timekeeping and payroll for assistants for digging and burial assisting.
  • Oversee headstone processes
    • Advise plot owners on headstone requirements, including an explanation of what is and isn’t allowed, and identification of recommended headstone suppliers.
    • Coordinate with the Veteran Services Administration for stones for veterans’ burials.
    • Coordinate with the designated headstone installation.
    • Mark the positions for headstones prior to placement.
  • Other burial ground activities
    • Respond to queries: Help visitors find where loved ones are buried and answer genealogical queries when able.
    • Answer queries from in-person visitors. (Manager is encouraged to set appropriate boundaries that serve them and their families in this regard.)
    • Rule enforcement -- manage the removal of items left on graves, headstones, and communicate with mourners who leave items.
    • Open/close the burial ground gate. (As needed, police sometimes drive through as part of their patrol.)
    • Ensure graves are maintained and sunken earth refilled, as needed, based on weather (washouts, sinking); maintain mounds on recent (prior to final sinking) graves so that they are weed-free and mounded appropriately.
  • Planning and Reporting
    • Advise the FSWBG Committee on recommendations to improve operations.
    • Take part in the planning process for the future of the burial ground and any special projects.
    • Make written monthly reports to the FSWBG Committee that contain summaries of burials conducted, outreach efforts made, and any opportunities and challenges present.
    • Attend monthly meetings of the FSWBG Committee when requested.
  • Finances
    • Exercise discretion and independent judgment to operate Burial ground within budget, advising the FSWBG Committee if significant shortfalls or surpluses are anticipated.
    • Assist in completing FSWBG annual budget process, including recommendations and proposals for changes, as needed.
    • Process payments to pass on to the CPMM office.
    • Manage payroll and prepare monthly payment advice for staff and submit to the CPMM office.
  • Outreach/Communication:
    • Lead burial ground outreach and communication efforts, in concert with the FSWBG Committee.
    • Attend meetings of Quaker communities and institutions to inform them of the existence and opportunity at the FSWBG - green burials, memorial garden, etc.
    • Answer visitor questions about Quakerism and Quaker practices.
    • Know the basic history and biographies of those buried to be able to inform interested visitors and be able to guide tours or talk at events.
    • Keep up to date on developments in the funerary industry, especially locally within Muslim and green burial communities, and all applicable regulations.
  • Pre-need Sales and Marketing
    • Engage Quaker Meetings, other Quaker institutions, and other communities (including Muslim) that may benefit from knowing about the opportunities available at FSWBG.
    • Utilize pamphlets and other materials created by the FSWBG Committee to market the burial ground, and suggest changes to materials, as needed.
    • Identify and present to the FSWBG Committee opportunities for promotion of the burial ground and implement marketing and promotion projects once approved by the Committee.
  • Train and Supervise All Staff and Contractors
    • Train, manage and supervise all staff and contractors, including discipline, hiring and firing, in concert with and upon final approval of the FSWBG Committee.
    • An assistant manager will be hired to facilitate and manage burials three days a week and any vacation/sick days taken by the Managing Director.
    • Supervise and train the assistant manager and delegate tasks in addition to burial management as is appropriate.
  • Volunteer Management (at the Managing Director’s discretion, if they deem there is sufficient need and time to facilitate a volunteer program)
    • Recruit and manage volunteers for various tasks in the burial ground – perhaps weeding and refiling Muslim graves, and care of the memorial garden and other landscaping.
  • Memorial Garden
    • Oversee the use and promotion of the Memorial Garden (to be completed in Fall 2020), including facilitating the spreading of cremains and memorial meetings that take place there, and promoting the sale of memorial stones and use of the garden.
    • Oversee and maintain the Memorial Garden – engaging volunteers and contract help as needed, weeding, light pruning, mulching.
  • Grounds Maintenance
    • Responsible for maintaining grounds to a high standard - safe for visitors, neat in appearance, and with consideration for the continued preservation and growth of the burial ground’s tree canopy and plant collections.
    • Coordinate with and hire contractors, soliciting and assessing bids, scheduling and monitoring work for tree care, lawn care, and snow removal as needed.
    • Communicate with the FSWBG Committee as issues or concerns with grounds arise.
    • Oversee capital improvement work to the house, barn, and grounds under the direction of the FSWBG Committee. Ensure that capital maintenance and improvement work is scheduled, competitive bids are solicited, etc.
    • Support and liaise with the gardener and organizations that utilize the garden area behind the barn. Ensure that maintenance and management commitments are met.
  • House and Facility Maintenance
    • Perform simple maintenance tasks.
    • For maintenance work that cannot be handled by the Managing Director, coordinate with contractors, assess bids, schedule, monitor, and remit invoices for work to the CPMM Office.

Preferred Qualifications

  • 3-5 years of experience in the funeral/burial ground industry.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with other individuals and recruit and supervise a diverse staff effectively.
  • Ability to show respect and reverence toward the bereaved.
  • Capable of understanding maps for grave locations and layouts.
  • Proficiency with computers and basic software (Microsoft Office Suite, Email) for communication and the management of burial ground documents. 
  • Excellent organizational skills - ability to manage and track all operations.
  • Ability to operate and complete basic maintenance on mechanical equipment and to complete and supervise basic groundskeeping and facility maintenance work. 
  • Being Quaker is not required, but knowledge of Quaker practices and customs is beneficial. 

Note: It is the policy of CPMM not to consider CPMM members for this role.

To Apply

Send resume and cover letter to [email protected] by May 15, 2020. Questions pertaining to this position can also be emailed to that address.

To download a copy of this job description, please see the attached file to this post.