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Thoughts On The 2010 PASS BoD Elections Candidate List

Yesterday PASS published the list of candidates on the ballot for the 2010 Board of Directors election. Much to my surprise my friends Steve Jones (Blog | Twitter) and Jack Corbett (Blog | Twitter) did not make the final cut. The ensuing chatter on Twitter; comments on Steve & Jack's blog posts here, here, & here; discussion thread on SQLServerCentral; and blog posts from Andy Leonard (Blog | Twitter) here, here, and here echo the sentiment. After weighing the issue from both sides I offer my own 2 cents on the matter.

Random Thoughts

  • The nomination committee (hereby referred to as the NomCom) stayed within the boundaries of a process they were given to follow. The BoD had the opportunity to modify the NomCom's list and did not. This was not a failure on the NomCom's part.
  • Kudos to Stuart Ainsworth (Blog | Twitter), member of the NomCom, for his post about the thought process that went into their decision.
  • Welcome to politics, where you're never going to be able to please everyone 100% of the time.
  • Is the outcry of support for Steve the general consensus of the community at large or just what we're hearing from the vocal minority?

My Message To The SQL Community

  • Regardless of what you feel about Steve's exclusion from the ballot don't forget that there are five great candidates who made the cut. I'd rather have to eliminate good candidates than have too few to pick from.
  • Be careful what you wish for. The SQL community cried foul when last year's ballot included a candidate who no one knew much about. Prior to this year's election PASS created an elections website which gave everyone insight into the process. Would you rather have a repeat of last year's election with almost no transparency?
  • Put up or shut up. At last year's Summit the entire BoD was available for an hour-long Q&A session. I was there and if memory serves me correct there were as many BoD members on stage answering questions as people who showed up to ask them. Things won't change if you take your ball and go home because you didn't get your way. Use this as motivation to dig in and fight for a change if you're not happy.
  • Don't give up on PASS. For as many things as the community criticizes there are just as many that PASS gets right.

My Suggestion To The PASS Board of Directors
Don't stonewall the community who elected you. This is your chance to show that you are open to listening to the people you represent. If I were in your shoes I'd do two things:

  1. Publish the yea\nea votes cast by each member for the final slate of candidates. Some of the current BoD members are up for re-election and I think the community at large would be interested in knowing where each member stands.
  2. Give the community the chance to prove that you're wrong. Just like you recently did for the Summit, hold a community choice vote for which of the candidates not selected should be on the final ballot. To ensure it's not a vocal minority who are upset set a minimum number of total votes (500? 1000?) that must be received in order for the results to be valid. Is this fair to the other 5 candidates? Sure, they're already through and can begin campaigning now; whoever gets picked as the community choice candidate will have the disadvantage of being a few weeks behind.

That's my opinion - take it for what it is. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think.


Posted by Tim Mitchell on 19 August 2010

Kendal, good write-up, and I agree that it wasn't solely a failure of the NomCom - they were working in a finite domain with specific selection criteria.  I think the disconnect lies in the establishment of the process and criteria.  At some point, someone with authority to apply the brakes should have taken a step back and said, "Really? Is this what's best for PASS?"  Maybe they did and just decided to press on, but it would seem that the end result is contradictory to common sense.

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