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SQLAndy

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.

Changes at OPASS

I’ve been managing oPASS since we re-hydrated it back in early 2007. Seems like a long time ago! We’ve made some progress and the group is stable, just not growing as much as I had hoped. That could be us, could be the region, hard to know. Jack Corbett joined me a while back as President and as part of that we moved from bi-monthly to monthly and I think overall that has been a good change, but it’s definitely more work and couldn’t have done it without his help.

In the last couple weeks as I’ve thought about where I want to go and focus on, and how we’re doing at oPASS, it just made sense that it was time for me to hand over the reins to Jack, let him set the direction fully. Originally I had thought to make it contingent on whether I was re-elected for the PASS Board, but I think it adds a bit of uncertainty to oPASS, and I think it’s good for leadership to change. Whether I’m re-elected or now, I won’t lack for opportunities to participate in the community.

Making that decision now drives a lot of other decisions. We’ve always been light weight, not much of a formal charter and I’ve just run the little bit of sponsor money through my business account for simplicity. It’s worked, even worked well I’d say, but now as we face change, we need to revisit all of that and figure out what comes next. In truth the money management is the biggest pain for us (and most chapters). Incorporating for a few thousand dollars a year is tedious and poor use of time in my opinion. I’d really like to see PASS extend the idea of holding funds in trust to chapters in the same way it does for SQLSaturday. That would remove a huge pain point, and it would also contribute to transparency, we could easily share the details of money in or out for each chapter.

Between now and the September meeting we’ll see who is interested and what direction they want to go. I don’t have any firm preference, I just want to see the group sustain and grow. Maybe we can iron it out in September, maybe it takes a little bit longer, but by end of year we’ll make the changes and start the next…chapter…as it were!

Not easy to let go. Still, it feels like the right move.

Comments

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 17 August 2010

Good luck with the change and future endeavors.

Posted by Steve Jones on 17 August 2010

I think that is a great idea, though it does have some legal/financial complications.

It would be great if PASS could provide a framework for chapters to easily incorporate as a non-profit and provide some guidance/services along those lines.

Posted by jcrawf02 on 17 August 2010

I don't know how the legal issues work since they're in different locations (especially out of country) but couldn't PASS just handle all the cash under one entity and treat each chapter as a branch? Seems like unnecessary paperwork to treat each one as a separate entity.

Posted by Andy Warren on 17 August 2010

I guess it depends? We're successfully holding money in trust for SQLSaturday event leaders. It's equivalent to asking someone to hold your wallet while you dive in the pool, when you're done you get back the wallet (and presumably the cash!). I think we could do that much, it helps on cash management, but doesn't alter the tax consequences to the person who actually receives the money.

I agree it seems like a lot of paperwork, and my hunch is that there is a dollar point where it makes sense to be more formal...say $10k in sponsor dollars a year or more, maybe a bit higher.

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 22 August 2010

We're going through the same kind of growing pains with NTSSUG in Dallas.  Several others have been through the incorporation process, so it might be worth getting some people together to discuss pros and cons, along with pitfalls to avoid from those who have been down that road.

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