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Ethics and Power

Power corrupts.

A famous quote, and it’s one of the the most true quotes I’ve seen in my life. When someone has power, they develop a sense of importance, their decisions seem to be more “correct” and their arrogance grows.

It’s a sign of being human, and we have try to build in checks and balances into our governments and corporations to limit the abuses of power. We’re not any more perfect than our systems, and we continue to see our systems, and people, fall down.

Being elected to a position confers power to an individual. It gives them responsibility, but it also seems to dull them in some way. The elected individual finds it harder to make the “right” decision, to stand up in an ethical way over time. It becomes common to justify their choices when they shouldn’t need to. A good ethical, moral decision shouldn’t need much justification; it should stand on its own, It’s the rare individual that can stand up for their beliefs in the face of criticism and follow their moral compass.

The organization that I was proud to join a decade ago as a professional working with SQL Server has completely fallen down for me in many ways, and the leaders elected to positions have time and time again chosen to set their ethics aside for various reasons.

“Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once its realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy. – Ron Paul “

We don’t have wealth, or perhaps even liberties involved with our professional organization, but we do have pride, or we should have pride, and once again I have none.

As the appointments were announced for the board of directors, I was not surprised, but saddened. An election was completed recently, with six people deciding to run, to devote their time and resources to serving the community.  Three were elected, by a narrow margin, and there were two resignations. With the election so recent, with so many others declining to volunteer for the board, one would think that it would be easy to appoint the fourth and fifth highest vote recipients to the board.

How easy would that be? These were people approved by the nomination committee, validated by the community and voted for. Apparently the board felt that the nomination committee and the community must not have good judgment.

Sri Sridharan, a friend, a volunteer, and an energetic worker on behalf of the Dallas community was not chosen. He has organized three SQL Saturdays, and was instrumental in bringing the SQL Rally to Dallas. He decided to run for the board of directors, something that few have done. Regardless of the qualifications of others, there is no argument that Sri is qualified for the board.

UPDATE (2012/1/16): To be clear, I do not argue that James Rowland-Jones or Kendal Van Dyke are qualified, and I have no complaint with their qualifications.

Apparently the board, led by its President, does not agree, and decided that someone the community wanted less, and someone that declined to run for the board, were better choices. I have no complaints against those appointed, but they did not deserve the position more so than Sri.

I can only look at this as an ethical lapse by the board, taking their personal feelings towards a candidate into consideration over qualifications and community support. All those directors that voted for these appointments fall into one of the failings of elected officials, and they certainly do not represent me.

It’s a sad day, one that has me viewing the organization as one that lacks professionalism, and simply an Association for SQL Server, without the P in front.

Sri, my friend, my apologies to you as a member of the SQL Server community, and I can only empathize with you, having been in a similar situation.

Filed under: Blog Tagged: PASS, syndicated

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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