It's true but I am concerned on behalf of the lay residents who have no other means. I have met several who, apart from the monastery, have no way to earn a living. These people tend to be either elderly, have personality disorders, or are disabled in other ways. These people aren't "volunteering" in the same sense because they often have no other choice. I am not one of these people but it's something that doesn't sit right with me.
I'm surprised a western monastery would allow such people as residents, for the past two years I was part of the process at Bhavana of reading over and choosing to accept residency applications, accepting people who basically have no where else to go or are elderly or disabled is quite a burden on the monastery, which is already quite burdened as it is. We tell people that we do not have the facilities or expertise to handle people with mental illness.
As you say Western monasteries don't have the support of ones in Asia, so they usually need all the good , skilled help they can get, to have less work, not create more, although I have encountered the " we just need a body" mindset, where they just want to accept anyone to have more people... that rarely ends well. This real need for help to maintain facilities can lead to taking the help of the lay people for granted, and as someone who was a hard worker in lay life, and has been also here at Bhavana as we've been short handed for some years, I know how much work is needed to maintain a monastery, especially if its also a retreat center. Some people come here as a resident expecting to be able to meditate 10 hours a day, I've just not been to a monastery here in the west where that is a feasible reality. Some have lots of free time(Bhavana essentially has 12pm-6pm as free time, in addition to the two hours of mandatory meditation time, but when you live here you end up sharing more of the chores so you may need to do a half hour or so of chores during that time.
That being said there are some things that should just be done by professionals. It's a common thing for people to do a lot of their own work at monasteries, but I can't count how many times in the past few years I've spoken to a professional, a plumber, electrician, etc, who tell me " man Jay I don't know who originally did this work but its so haphazard and horrible and potentially dangerous". So we end up spending more money fixing and updating then we would of if years ago they paid a professional. It's hard though if you don't have lot of backing, and seems much more appealing to trust someone who comes to the monastery who says " hey i have these skills I can do this for you".. I ask to see their qualifications, insurance, and references, just like I would any other contractor I work with in lay life.
as for many of your other things, I've both seen and heard many of them on the Sri Lankan end of things, I don't think these issues are just specific to Thailand, but the Buddhist world in general. In Sri Lanka the senior monks are gods, never to be questioned, especially about their ability to lead a monastery or wanting to make things better. This is especially the case for the ones who were ordained since childhood and have never had to deal with criticism or being questioned since reaching adulthood. Their role models were very authoritative and abusive towards them, beating them into submission.
I remember a Sri Lankan lay woman , out of great concern, telling a western resident we had who called me " jay" instead of Bhante, that it was bad kamma for him to do so, and that even if a monk were to hit you, you put your hands in anjali and say " yes Bhante, sorry Bhante"..... I don't think i'll ever forget that one, it was quite telling.
The hierarchy has always existed in Buddhism, from the days of the Buddha when he was passing on and set the hierarchy up with seniority. The atmosphere and community at a monastery will always be at the whim, and abilities, of the abbot, so it's important to be under one who knows how to build a community, is skilled, competent, and thinks about those under him and their safety and spiritual growth.