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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

More Thoughts on the PASS Election 2010

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Published Monday, August 23, 2010 4:30 PM by andyleonard

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Grant Fritchey said:


Sing it brother!

Well done. Oh, and thanks for taking this on.

August 23, 2010 3:49 PM

Roy Ernest said:

Wow.. This is an awesome post. A must read for everyone interested in BoD of Pass. Thanks for the detailed post.

August 23, 2010 4:27 PM

Karen Lopez said:

Great post, Andy.

From an outsider's point of view, there seems to be a good deal of transparency going on here, so I'm curious as to what more you'd like to see about the nomination procedure.

I do agree that the process is not exactly what I would have expected.

August 23, 2010 4:34 PM

Cameron Mergel said:

Great post as always.  Yes, a must read.

August 23, 2010 4:46 PM

Gethyn Ellis said:

Andy, great post. I thought when all this came out, if Steve is not qualified to sit on the board then nobody really is. At that time, I was unaware that other high profile members of the community such as Brad Mcghee Adam Mechanic Tim Ford  had been rejected in previous years. PASS as an organisation, even PASS as a business is going to suffer greatly if it constantly let's the best 'community talent' sit on the bench or even drop them from the team. Process failure or people failure a technology based organisation needs to move with the times and change its process as business needs demand it. I think they have missed a great opportunity to move forward and at the same alienated its members to some degree.

August 23, 2010 5:20 PM

Chuck__Boyce said:

Thank you, Andy.  You speak for many of us.  Your efforts will help us steer past this in a constructive way to the benefit of the SQL Server community.

August 23, 2010 5:51 PM

SQLRockstar said:

Nice post Andy, thanks again for our discussion this past weekend.

Gethyn, I understand that some high profile names have been turned down in the past, but I would remind you and everyone else that there are a lot of good names on the current board as well.

To say that we aren't qualified to sit on the board simply because one other person failed to make a slate in one particular year is not fair to myself or the other members. Well, OK, maybe it is fair to say I am not qualified, but I serve with some very good people including Andy Warren. Surely you didn't mean to include him with your comment.

One thing I haven't heard anybody inquire about is the size of the board. Does anyone know how many people currently sit on the board? And what the maximum number of seats are that can exist at one time? Why not ask something simple like: "hey, can we expand the board by one seat and elect a community choice?"

I'd like to have more people dig through some of the details of our association and offer up some constructive solutions at times like this. Andy has certainly done that, and so has everyone else that has voiced their opinion. I thank you all for taking the time to leave your comments and thoughts both here and elsewhere.

August 23, 2010 6:39 PM

Arie Jones said:

Andy, great post.

First off, I as a Computational Physicist and my daughter as 4th grade daugther whom is studying 7th grade math will officially sign off on your math. I applaud you mathematical rigor:)

I too think that they should use the term 'reach'. That's what a lot of companies like mine use to measure a person's impact on the community. How many people do you go out there and potentially influence? It's not that hard...the math is even easier than the math you've shown here. Heck I fill out the math every quarter that they send out some kind of MVP nom to me....they ask specifically "Tell us about what community things you do and approx how many ppl were involved".

Now what I think got ppl even more ginned up is when certain unmentioned BoD members post comments akin to (and I will paraphrase) "Don't worry. It happens every year. Just ignore it and it will go away." . Yep, those are some inspirational words.

I guess we'll find out whom placed what votes eventually then wait to start our anti-incumbent campaigns. It's sad that sometimes it has to come to that but I believe that we are at that point. We as a community have to take a hard look at candidates that are up for reelection and throw those out that just don't get it.

Thanks for the long post Andy.

August 23, 2010 6:46 PM

Steve Hindmarsh said:

Great post Andy.   I think one of the main characteristics of a great DBA is honesty - if you make a mistake, admit it, don't try and cover it up...   I think it's time for PASS to handle a difficult situation in the most 'honest' way now, admit they have puzzled\angered\alienated a significant proportion of their memberhip.... Put Steve Jones back into the process - let the membership have a proper debate as to his suitability, then let the members vote decide.    

August 23, 2010 7:10 PM

Scott Gleason said:

When this first came up a few days ago, my first thought was to stay out of it.. it would get political becasue I share the same idea's WHY you think he was'nt elected.

After reading you'r post, I've realized your right.  I don't care what the cost is, Steve Jones would be right for the people.. for us.

If the board was out to protect the organization, it failed.

If the board was out to do what's in the best inrest of the people, it failed.

August 23, 2010 9:24 PM

Jorge Segarra said:

Great post as always Andy. As you said if Steve's not qualified then what does qualification really mean in terms of the organization? I'm still trying to wrap my head around 5 votes for No as well as the low score for volunteering outside of PASS. K. Brian Kelley's breakdown of the numbers is another good look at this strange score breakdown:

August 23, 2010 9:36 PM

Michael said:

Andy, thanks for the great article and talking to the people and getting the information out there. I couldn't have said it better myself.

I'm a relatively new PASS member, so I am too new to vote this year, but I have been impacted by Steve for a couple years at least. I don't know why I hadn't joined until recently, but I am sure it was because of a lack of information about it. Steve's rejection to be on the ballot makes me regret that I recently joined PASS, for if he isn't qualified to be on the board then I don't know that PASS is the right organization for me.

Will what we say make any difference, probably not, but at least we can say that we expressed our opinion.

I think the board is too involved in the candidate selection process and end up trying to protect the kingdom they have built rather than let the members re-shape it how they want it.

August 24, 2010 12:50 AM

Gethyn Ellis said:

@SQLRockstar (Thomas), I think I need to clarify my point, as I could have and should have chosen my word more carefully. I didn't mean that the current board, yourself included or those who made the slate are not qualified, or not good board members or won't be good board members. I was trying to suggest that the fact such high profile, and possibly, in my opinion anyway, suitably qualified candidates were sifted out before any vote took place could influence other people's decisions in the future to stand...They could be of the opinion "If Steve, Jack  et al did not make it  because they are not qualified then there is no way I am, so I won't put my name forward"  and this  could be detrimental to PASS as an organisation long term.

August 24, 2010 4:29 AM

Ralph Wilson said:

I have to agree with everything in this post . . . except, possibly, one point, which I will mention in just a bit.

Based upon the design of the process, it may well have been a foregone conclusion that Steve would be eliminated from the running.  I believe that was by design and, very probably, for many of the same reasons you have outlined.  One point I find interesting is that, as you stated, "At the interview phase NomCom members were given this ranking sheet:" . . . what is the origin of that ranking sheet and what, if any, instructions (verbal or written) were given to enlighten the Nominating Committee with regard to _how_ to determine the ranking value?  IMHO, there are some questionable points in that ranking sheet and many points are worded vaguely enough to allow predetermined results to be implemented.

As to the one point where I disagree . . . "You, the electorate, can vote for anyone you want - so long as we approve them first."

Suppose we, the electorate, don't accept that as a Commandment written in stone, so to speak?  Suppose we _write_in_ a name?  Now, as a fairly recent member of PASS, I don't know all the "ins and Outs" of the By Laws, etc., but I can't help but wonder what would happen if those who are disturbed by the absence of Steve's name on the ballot were to simply write it in. ;-)

August 24, 2010 9:07 AM

Eric Wisdahl said:

Thanks for the great post Andy!  I really at this point begin to question the community effectiveness of PASS.  It's a great conference.  I'm doing my best to once again attend this year.  But I don't know that I trust them any longer to hold the interest of the community.  They are a business and will have a business outlook on all of their actions.  This isn't a bad thing.  It just isn't a community.  To be honest, I now question if Andy, Steve and Brian gifting them the SQL Saturday brand was a good thing...

August 24, 2010 9:36 AM

Stephen Dyckes said:

Thanks for such a well thought out post on a very volatile subject!

I am at a complete loss as to how Steve Jones could/should/would receive such an overall low score. I have been a form of a DBA for 9+ years, and somewhat self taught (as we all are!), my companies have not had the resources for any formal training. I have relied upon the SQL community for this training, in which I found SQL Server Central and Steve Jones a long ago. With out all the work by Steve and his associates, I would not have had as much exposure to quality knowledge as I have had. His selfless dedication to the SQL Community happened to pay off in such a way to become his profession, and it is unfortunate that his many years of "Community Service" was not given a higher regard. My hope is this situation will now lead to improvements on the election process in the years to come.

Thanks again for the post Andy. And a big thank you to Steve Jones for all the hard work through the years.

August 24, 2010 10:56 AM

Anonymous said:

Eric: Some of us have been questioning that for years :-) ... in my opinion PASS should stop attempting to ride the line between business and community--and not doing especially well on either count--and instead focus on the business end. This would, I believe, make it a much more successful and empowered organization and would allow it, in turn, to help other organizations better positioned to actually act as communities. Alas, this point of view isn't popular with the PASS board. Oh well.

August 24, 2010 12:28 PM

RickHeiges said:

Andy - very passionate post.  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

August 24, 2010 1:30 PM

JeffYao said:

I must echo the same feeling as most of people who posted here, if Steve Johns is not qualified, it will be too ridiculous to believe. I originally thought with Steve joining the PASS board, I will see some nice improvement in PASS as an organization to be "by SQL Server Professional, of SQL Server professional and for SQL Server professional". Alas, PASS board, you disappointed me and your decision is an insultation to people's wisdom / expectation.

August 24, 2010 10:24 PM

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