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PASS Update #26 (Bylaws & Upcoming Board Meeting)

Most months we do a conference call, but a couple times a year we get to meet in person and it’s a much better experience for collaborating. For the first time since I joined the board we’re meeting on the east coast saving me some travel time and more importantly, avoiding the jet lag. We’ll be meeting at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fl on March 22 & 23, 2010. I’ll be driving down Sunday afternoon (about a 3 hour drive) for dinner with the early arrivers.

As always we have a busy agenda, and perhaps the most interesting item for me is a chance for us discuss what changes we want to make to the by-laws. The goal is to agree on the main changes, and leave the final language for a follow up discussion. I’m going to mention some ideas I hope to get support for below, but I hope you’ll read our by-laws and send me (or any other board member) your ideas on changes you would like to see. Changes are hard, as they should be, and it’s often tough to figure out what belongs in the by-laws and what should be a matter of our standard procedures. Come up with ideas, and we’ll sort it out.

Now, the changes I hope to put out for discussion:

  • Removing the concept of the Executive Committee (President, both VP’s, Past President, and Exec Director). Officers would remain, the committee would not.
  • Elect officers directly from the board – removing the officer nomination committee.
  • Require all board members to be elected/re-elected, right now officers are appointed by the board and not longer run for re-election
  • Change the term of officers to one year
  • Clarify and simplify the term limits
  • Move the date of the election to mid summer so it doesn’t conflict with the Summit, and thus would get the full attention of our members
  • Add language authorizing officers to speak and write without presenting an official position of PASS (much as I do here)(not sure how we do this legally, maybe just require a disclaimer)
  • Require meeting minutes to be published with 10 business days
  • Limit companies to no more than 3 employees/representatives on the board, and to no more than one serving as an officer

We’re also going to be discussing transparency, an area where I think we still do badly. Transparency is also hard, it means showing our members that we don’t always agree, that we make mistakes, and in general makes you feel a bit vulnerable. Yet, without transparency, PASS seems devoid of life and interest. Not all board members are bloggers, and we can’t expect them to just start – how do we get them to communicate better? Or said differently, how we can show you what they are doing in a way that’s helpful to all?

I like the suggestion from Jack Corbett that we should consider everything open by default, and only mark a very few things as confidential (an example would be a sponsorship package we negotiate with a vendor for the Summit). We really have relatively few areas like this, and it would remove the fear of ‘saying something wrong’. I think everyone who reads my posts like this one understands that it’s my own view, not an official ‘position’, and that i have my own ideas and biases. Should I run for re-election, you’ll have a lot of information to support your decision to vote for or against me – I think that’s largely not true for most of the other board members.

One final point on that. It’s not enough to just do. Our members have to understand what we do and how long it took, and if it worked. From time to time we’ll show them a failure, and in my experience being willing to admit failures is a requirement of good leadership, and pragmatically, failures almost always smack of truth, lending more credence to the times we write about our successes.

Let me know what you think.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by kkline on 21 March 2010

Hi Andy,

I laud all of these suggestions! I plan to comment more extensively on my own blog, but I think this is a great set of  points that all warrant further discussion.  I'll post a response on my blog asap.



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