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Staff are generally people with more responsibility and are usually chosen before the con. Different conventions have different descriptors for the differences of staff.

For example:

(In both examples, while volunteers work at the convention, they are not considered staff. Even though all of the staff are volunteers.)

Katsucon has the following Staff Categories:

Chair / Vice Chair
Corporate Staff
Dept Head / Assistant Dept head

Balticon however has the following Staff Categories:

Committee (These are the members of the BOD for BSFS)
Chair / Vice Chair
A division head (Basically a second vice chair with out the title)
Dept Heads
Staff/Volunteers (Over the years this line has been very blurry and caused lots of problems. Which departments get to have staff, what are staff perks versus volunteer perks)