UPDATE: The email and website are now up. Send an email to email@example.com or visit http://erc.sqlpass.org/ and see blog posts and forums dedicated to the topic.
Things have mostly settled down after some of the upset felt from the last Board of Directors election. Now that the Annual Summit is over and the newly elected Board members have been introduced, it's time to move forward.
How do we, as members of a vibrant technical community, ensure the success and growth of our organization? Is it the best idea to continue a popularity contest to choose our future Board Members? Does that serve our organization the best way possible? What happens if no one runs for the Board and there are empty seats? What happens if no qualified candidates submit to serve? What happens if we have 100 amazing candidates to choose from? How much transparency do people really want?
A bevy of questions...none with immediate answers. In part, this is the task of the newly appointed Election Review Committee. The committee is made up of a mixture of PASS people, all names you probably know: Joe Webb (our Chair and former Board member), Lori Edwards (Volunteer of the Year), Allen White (MVP and Speaker), K.Brian Kelley (from SQL Server Central fame) and myself make up the 'community' contingent. The remaining members: Andy Warren and Bill Graziano represent the current Board of Directors. Announced at the Summit, and made available to the attendees for open Q&A, this group has been tasked with reviewing the current Election process. Many questions have already come to light. Many more will likely surface before our task is complete.
"What is your task?", you may ask. Simply, to review the current Election process as it stands (including the role and function of the Nomination Committee) and present a slate of recommendations to the Board for consideration. There are no guarantees the Board will accept what we put in front of them. But, we are under a tight timeframe if we hope to faciliate any change prior to the next election.
You see, the thing about an organization as large as PASS is that they (rightly) adhere to rules of governance. This means there are rules to follow in order to change the rules. Now, I'm sure that sounds like a stupid amount of red tape to wade through when everyone knows something needs to change. Personally, I'm happy we have rules to follow. Without a set of standards in place, we could end up with changes that are a knee-jerk reaction and not necessarily the 'right' changes.
There will be an email address and a forum set up for you to provide input or ideas you would like to share with us. I'll post that as an addendum here when it's ready. While I'm eager to see change in the process and happy that the Board has recognized there is an issue and has tasked themselves with fixing it; at the same time I'm hesitant to step into these shoes. Too often, people have placed themselves in positions where they honestly and truly want to help the organization and they end up being faced with growing a much thicker skin than they would ever want - even loosing friends and the respect of their colleagues in the process. If you're still reading this, know that I place myself in that line of fire only because I care and I want to see PASS continue to prosper.
Enough for now, I will follow up with another post talking about where I believe changes are needed. Feel free to leave a comment here, but really, make sure you comment to the ERC when the email/forum becomes available.