Long time, No see. This space has been a bit quiet and I apologize for that. Seems I have been a bit busy getting out and earning a living. Tough times all over.
Anyway, the 2009 PASS (www.sqlpass.org) board elections just closed. There has been a lot of controversy over this election with a non-SQL professional seeking a board member position. Pro or con, I am not getting into that argument. I see merits on both sides.. I will say that the nominating committee failed the PASS membership badly. The failure was not in allowing this person to run. On the contrary, I think a controversial candidate is great since it lets the members decide exactly where the organization should go.. The failure was in limiting the slate to just four candidates.for three open positions. I do recall from history and civics classes that some political systems have the exact number of candidates as offices, but I don't remember the exact term for such a system. "Democracy" certainly isn't the right term. Community organizations should have leaders chosen by the community. This is not the case with this "election".
Note that I am not criticizing the quality of the candidates selected. Some of them I know personally and consider friends. Others are professional colleagues that I know of and respect. The problem is four people and three positions is a final round of musical chairs, not a board election.
Since I am a problem solver by nature (If you are not, consider a career change from DBA. You won't like it and you won't do well) I will propose a solution:
The nominating committee function should simply be to properly vet the candidates. It should establish that whatever claims for personal and professional achievements a candidate claims are factually correct. It should establish minimum criteria for candidates and publish those qualifications. Those qualifications should be things like being a full-up member of the organization AND a local chapter for at least three years and attended at least two prior PASS summits (European ones count). Maybe some level of volunteer community commitment, but I think that gets us too close to the weeds in measuring just how different volunteer efforts should be compared. Simple, basic, fundamental requirements.
Then let the members decide.
After all, this is a community organization. Isn't it?