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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

PASS Elections 2010

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Published Wednesday, August 18, 2010 7:00 PM by andyleonard

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Jack Corbett said:

1.  I would hesitate to say that ALL applicants should be voted on by the community.  At some point there has to be a qualification process and I actually think the process used this year wasn't that bad.

2.  As always there could be more information shared with the community throughout the process.  In each step of the process reasons for the decisions could have/should have been included.  I don't think posting scores is enough.  We don't need every detail, but a summary of reasons would have worked.  It's tough because most of us know each other and to hear more might cause some hurt feelings and could affect relationships.  I also think that the notification email to Steve could have been worded better, and actually, so could mine.

3.  I would not say that there was bias, but that the lack of transparency leaves the door open for people to think that there was bias.  Similar to the situation with the delayed release of the Summit location survey results.  Not being open leaves the door open for people to think the worst, and, unfortunately, people seem to like to think the worst.  I truly believe the NomCom recommended the people that they believe will best serve PASS.  I don't think that they were right, specifically in Steve's case, but I think that they did what they think is right.

August 18, 2010 6:24 PM

Chuck said:

1. Do you think the PASS electorate should be allowed to vote on all the applicants?

Yes. That is my expectation.

2. What could PASS or the Nominations Committee (NomCom) do better / differently?

Identify qualified BOD candidates and permit the community to make decisions as to who will serve.

3. Do you believe there was bias in the selection process?

I think that politics exists in all human endeavors.  A seat on the Board is a very valuable thing (both financially and intangibly). That's as far as I feel comfortable observing.  Anything else would be conjecture.

August 18, 2010 6:58 PM

AJ Mendo said:

1. Do you think the PASS electorate should be allowed to vote on all the applicants?

- Yes. Anyone that puts themselves up for public election such as this should be on the slate.

2. What could PASS or the Nominations Committee (NomCom) do better / differently?

- Interview all candidates to gather information to post for all of PASS to review before we vote on anyone.

3. Do you believe there was bias in the selection process?

- I think the NomCom did the best they could given the criteria they had to work with. Perhaps the process is broken and not the committee.

August 18, 2010 8:52 PM

James said:

How do you figure that it's financially valuable to be on the board? Isn't It an unpaid position?

August 18, 2010 9:17 PM

CB said:

Hi James,

When I point out that a seat on the Board is a very valuable thing financially I'm referring to airfare, hotel, meals, expenses, trips, etc. that Board members have paid for them.

Those are significant costs to all of us in the community that chose to attend PASS.

You can see these listed on the PASS budget if you're curious as to the actual dollar costs for each.


August 18, 2010 10:21 PM

Louis Davidson said:

1. Do you think the PASS electorate should be allowed to vote on all the applicants?

No. A vetting process is a good first step and should be employed. Last year I interviewed and was cut for very good reasons. Some people are leaders, some people are influencers, some people are nerds. I am more of a nerd than any of those. Nerds are good to get technical help from, but aren't necessarily leadership material, or at least haven't achieved that level. I might be a slight influencer, but only slight. Most of the ideas I have had for PASS came way before they happened, and were championed by other people when they were installed (and I don't think that many, if any, were stolen...just suggested by more leadership savvy folks.)

2. What could PASS or the Nominations Committee (NomCom) do better / differently?

That is darn tough. I was on the committee one year, and it is a hard job picking from the people who are volunteering to work many hours for free.

I think that what they did this year was kind of brave really, sharing as much info as they did. I think the problem is that they shared a bit "too" much this time. It is like going in for a job interview and getting rejected publicly. And if you are going to reject publicly, then you probably need to explain the rejection (know that that could easily lead to a stray word being used against the process in a law suit for any sorts of reason...discrimination being one such concern.)

3. Do you believe there was bias in the selection process?

Yes. We all know each other. Some of us have been around PASS for 10 years now, and we personally know the people, their story, their business, etc. How do you avoid this? It is like nepotism, except the people aren't relatives, they are friends who have blogs, tweet, facebook, etc, etc. You love them, how do you say no. You have heard things about them, how do you say yes?  Ever have to interview a friend of your boss? What if he could blog about you after you turned him down?

The real question is how much. Look, no matter what you do, unless the candidates were interviewed using electronic voice modulators that all sounded the same, there was bias. The only question is how much.

We all hear lots of things, we all know some subset of what we hear is true.  The fact is, I am glad it wasn't me making the choices. I have lots of respect for the committee, some of the people I tremendous respect and the others  I don't know very well, so I can't say. Hopefully they made the choice they felt was right, and weren't pressured..

Now the only problem is, we know who they picked. We know how they ranked before the interviews. We know that some people who were lower down were cut, and some moved up. Will we know why? Who knows. Not sharing their reasons assists the paranoid, sharing their reasons assists the other paranoids. Lose - lose.

One question was standard for me in all of my interviews for the board. If you are rejected, will you still be involved with PASS? Answer, absolutely. As long as the candidates can come away saying this, I think everything will be just fine.

August 18, 2010 11:31 PM

a.m. said:

1. Should they be allowed to vote for any and all comers? No, probably not. A VERY quick vetting system should be used, but beyond that I would say bring 'em on.

2. What could they do better? Disappear.

3. Bias? As Louis said, of course.

Louis, I thought I recalled your making the nomination cut at some point. Did I imagine that?

August 19, 2010 11:06 AM

Alexander Kuznetsov said:

I am sure that Steve will succeed and excel in whatever he will be doing, and I wish him good luck!

Regarding PASS, the decision I really don't like most is to have the summit in one and the same place, and a rather lousy one, Seattle in Nov. That's why I am typically not attending, but with SQL Saturdays gaining momentum, summits are becoming less and less important for me.

And, BTW, is it just me, or was someone else surprised by the request to vote for just 4 sessions out of more than 100?

August 19, 2010 2:54 PM

Louis Davidson said:

Adam, it was 2 years ago.  Last year I didn't make the cut because one of the interviewers asked my a really really good question that I couldn't answer.

August 19, 2010 4:25 PM

Michael said:

1) Yes, after an initial simple qualification process.

2) Interview and create information packets on all qualified candidates that PASS members can review before voting. Don't limit the field.

3) Yes. With three open spots and only five candidates to pick from it seems as if the election is stacked. I think there needs to be a minimum of twice the number of candidates as positions, and preferably even more. In a quick search I couldn't find how the NomCom members are selected, but if the board selected them that would make it seem like they essentially get to pick the next board members and there isn't really any point of an election.

August 21, 2010 4:07 PM

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