Two years ago I wrote about how screwed up the SQL PASS elections process was, mainly due to the small candidate to seat ratio. That post included a harsh comment comparing the election to a game of musical chairs. Last year several of my colleagues urged me to run for the board, putting my seat where my mouth is (hmm, that doesn’t sound quite right). That led to being involved with the most controversial election ever for PASS, although the controversy was not about me. We listened and created an Election Review Committee to improve the process.
My view is we had a process that focused on transparency (Good!) while still lacking key direction or vision. The PASS board, along with recommendations from our Election Review Committee, has come out with the latest revision to the Elections Process. Bill Graziano has a post here
with the announcement and the process. I am pleased to say this process is much stronger regarding direction, purpose, and vision.
I would like to highlight and discuss a few key points.
1) PASS Experience Required: The board has explicitly made PASS experience at more than the speaker level a mandatory requirement. We are looking for PASS leadership. You have to know what it is we do and how we do it in order to be eligible.
2) The Nominations Committee (Nom-Com) now has specific requirements for its members. Short version is if you were eligible for a leadership (non-speaker, non MVP) comp to Summit 2010, you are eligible for the Nom-Com. The actual document has a more detailed list. Not only do the candidates for Nom-Com come from this pool, this is the same group that elects Nom-Com members. The criteria for inclusion may miss a few qualified members, but this is the best fit answer that does not require gleaning through the 70,000 members on the mailing list to decide who is qualified. I would rather see those resources put towards actual community support that micro-tweaking this process.
3) The Nom-Com has two distinct roles. One is to make sure that Candidates’ written applications meet the minimum requirements for Directorship. The second is to stack-rank the applicants after conducting interviews. In addition, there is an “Unqualified” rank that requires a unanimous vote of the Nom-Com. We don’t expect to use this, but it is there “just in case”. This dual role was not clear last year, leading to a lot of noise and confusion about the process.
4) All candidates, including current directors running for re-election, must go through the same process. (Yes, this means me too).
5) Some parts of the process, specifically the interviews, are intentionally confidential. The process is very similar to a job interview for an executive position. People ask tough questions and need honest answers. There are a lot of things discussed that during an interview lsuch as these that could unnecessarily cause misunderstandings and community conflict, especially when taken out of context. Some things should stay confidential. Feel free to disagree. Please post the transcript of your last three job interviews along with your dissent.
6) Finally, the Board of Directors is still the ultimate backstop. You elected us, that makes it our responsibility.
I think this process addresses many of the issues from last year. It makes the goals and qualifications for the Nom-Com and the Candidates much more explicit. It also better defines the dual jobs of the Nom-Com.
All in all, this qualifies as a major version upgrade.