Who is watching the Watchmen?

smileyIt is funny, but when I first decided to put myself forward for the Nominations Committee this year, I didn’t realize that the whole process would turn into a Campaign for Election. It really goes against much of what I stand for and is not really what I believe the Community is truly about. My involvement with community efforts, whether they be PASS related or not, are done so because I believe that my input (if required) would be beneficial to the cause that  I am offering to invest my time, efforts and possibly finances into. I am not seeking publicity, nor am I interested in promoting any personal ventures, Companies or other self-serving interests into those efforts. What I *am* interested in, is that this ‘thing’ we all are part of benefits from my investment, whatever that may be. That is surely the whole purpose of being a volunteer? I volunteer my time and effort to you, so that you can benefit -not me.

So rather than talking about issues that affect us all and problems we face (not just with our Chapters or SQLSaturdays or Communities at large), we instead are focused on running a Campaign to get ourselves elected to a position on the Nominations Committee by talking about ourselves and why we believe we are the best person for the job. Not only is this impossible to ever know who is/was the best, but for me it kind of misses the point.

Lets stand for these positions based on what you will do for it rather that what it can do for you!

So before I go any further I want to put on record that I think there are some great candidates on the NomCom slate this year. Make sure that you vote for those people who will contribute selflessly and represent your views the way you expect. And if this isn’t me then make sure you find someone who will. Please check out my fellow candidates here.

Last year I watched the whole process of the Nomination Committee election and eventual Board of Directors selection with mixed feelings. Due to other personal commitments I was sadly forced to watch NomCom and the Board of Director elections from afar, but I watched it all with great interest, and made sure I listened in on the live #passvotes twitter stream and audio broadcasts.

I confess that as time went on, I grew more frustrated and disappointed with proceedings and decided that this year I needed to participate to either help give a voice to those things that are bothering me and add a new perspective to the elections or at very least gain further insight into the whole process.

One thing that I am looking for is Directors who are not afraid to make unpopular decisions (as long as they are made for the benefit of the PASS membership) whatever they may be, but also for them not just to have fresh ideas, but also to be ready to rethink old ones.

For those of you who know a little bit about the recent(ish) history of the PASS election process, the need for a Nominations Committee with a transparent and fair process in order to scrutinize and put through Board of Director candidates for the public slate will be obvious. However, as far as I can see, the system is far from perfect and I do wonder if we can do better?

Starting off with the Nominations Committee elections, I commend PASS for making it open to all its members and allowing essentially anyone to have the ability to put themselves forward as a candidate but one thing that particularly strikes me about this is that there isn’t really any established criteria in place for potential candidates to fulfill before putting themselves forward. Is this a good thing or should NomCom candidates have proven track records? How could this be governed and does anyone really care?
While I am sure that behind the scenes this kind of scrutiny does go on, why not make the full extent of this criteria public?

Potential NomCom candidates are themselves put onto a slate for the public vote, and this is now the stage of the election process where we currently find ourselves. Something that is not quite clear to me though, is that *if* a NomCom committee is felt necessary to slate the PASS BoDs, then why doesn’t the NomCom committee themselves require their own NomCom Committee ad-infinitum? Yes I agree, this proposal sounds a little daft but then I think it poses questions about the requirement and purpose of NomCom for the BoD itself. The current process doesn’t quite feel right or joined up to me.

pythonI think we also need to debate exactly what the role of the NomCom is. In my opinion the committee shouldn’t be there to determine or influence a candidates success or failure, but simply be there as an administrative effort providing feedback to weed out BoD candidates that do not meet certain criteria. It is important therefore to DEFINE exactly what that criteria is. Certainly we should be encouraging BoD applications from all around the World not discouraging them, which moves me nicely onto my final point.

With some of the recent good work in expanding the PASS brand globally, am I the only one that has noticed a complete lack of BoD candidates last year of Community contributors from other continents? I watched with disbelief when the BoD slate was announced, only to see that we had 4 candidates from the U.K and the rest from the U.S (and lets not forget last years or this years NomCom candidates)! What about Russia, Portugal, Italy, Germany, India, Turkey, South Africa, Poland, Israel, Austria, Singapore or even a Country closer to PASSHQ? Brazil or Mexico anyone? I know of many people in some of these regions who would make excellent Directors on the Board so where are they? Why aren’t they putting themselves forward or (worse) not making the slate?
Unfortunately I am not near enough to the process to understand why we didn’t have any candidates on the BoD slate. When I raised this concern last year I was told it was because there wasn’t any candidates, but if that is the case, we need to encourage them to apply. We need their ideas, we need their views and we need their membership.

I could go on and on about these and many more points, but for now, they are not important. If you want me on NomCom then I will represent all of these issues and any you raise to the best of my ability. I want people to apply to the Board of Directors for all the right reasons and make a difference for the good of all. Let’s try and make this happen, I know we can!

p.s.

If you are interested then you can access my application form for NomCom from here.

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2 Responses to Who is watching the Watchmen?

  1. SQLAndy says:

    Sorry I’m late commenting, missed the post when it came out. I think NomCom does just about what you’re suggesting, screen candidates, with the added obligation that if there were a LOT of candidates the NomCom would reduce the list to the top 3x. I wish we did a better story of explaining the WHY of the Nomcom, there is some history there and at some point we may need a change, for now I think the system serves the members reasonably well, and surely better than the previous model. Hope to sit and talk about with you sometime!

    • retracement says:

      Hey Andy, thanks for dropping by. I genuinely respect you for all you have contributed over the years to the community and particularly to PASS and will always be very receptive to any insight you have to make about NomCom, BoD and SQLPASS in general – preferably over Beer…

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