My stint on the PASS Nominations Committee - Part 3 Campaigning
With the election over, this will be my last post on my experience on the PASS Nominations Committee. Earlier, I published a post explaining what the NomCom does and is responsible for and a second post on the candidate interviews. This post is about the campaign.
During the majority of the campaign everything went rather smoothly. I sat in on all of the town hall webinars with the candidates and encouraged the PASS Community to take part. I also encouraged the community to take part in the discussion forums on the PASS site. I do wish that more people took part in these. The town halls had only a handful of attendees and there were very few questions on the discussion forums. Although there's no way to force attendance, I'd really be interested in any ideas the community has on either why people don't participate or how to promote more participation.
Toward the end of the campaign, we did run into a bump. A candidate alerted us that there was a mailing that went out using a PASS mailing list and he felt that it was unacceptable. One note - the Nomination Committee has already officially responded to that issue and our decision was posted on the PASS blog. We've identified that there are potential changes that we should make to the wording and our processes to help avoid this in the future. The Nominations Committee remains intact until the 2016 Nominations Committee is elected and we will look at making those changes before that occurs.
The Nomination Committee is responsible for resolving any issues that come up during the election process. The rules regarding the use of email lists changed last year and so this was new territory. Historically the rule has been that no PASS maintained email lists could be used for campaigning. The only lists that could be used were mailing lists compiled by the candidate. There are some chapters that use their own mailing lists outside of the PASS maintained lists. So, basically, a chapter leader who used a PASS sponsored mailing list could not send campaign information with that list, while chapter leaders who managed their own list could. This was obviously inequitable and thus, the change to the mailing list usage rule. There was also an addition stating that if a chapter leader running for election uses a mailing list, they have to make that list available to all other candidates.
Once the Nomination Committee received the email regarding the use of a mailing list, we started gathering the information that we needed in order to make a decision. We were able to see who had generated the initial email and ask them about how that email came about. Because there was no historical precedent, we reached out to members from the 2014 Nomination Committee regarding the origin of the rule and the intent when changing it. We also reached out to the present and incoming presidents of the Board of Directors for their opinions. Once we had that information, we had a discussion about what occurred and whether or not any rules were broken. As with any group of opinionated individuals, there was quite a bit of discussion prior to coming to consensus. I think that the conversation went on for about six hours, but we would have gone longer if necessary.
One item that appeared on Twitter was the lack of communication from the Nomination Committee or the BOD about the situation. I agree that there could have been more communication once the issue was made public. Since all of the members of the Nom Com were not available initially, we were hesitant to make a public statement without their input. I do think that we should add verbiage to the Nom Com procedures providing direction for instances like this. I also think that it would be best if concerns from candidates were first presented to the Nom Com prior to discussing it on social media. Additionally, any member of the PASS community can contact the Nominations Committee if they see anything that seems out of line. In any case, we were able to present a statement within 24 hours that the entire Nom Com agreed on. I appreciate all of the Nom Com members and their dedication to getting this issue resolved in a timely manner in addition to everyday work/family responsibilities.
In 2010, I had the pleasure of serving on the Election Review Committee. The purpose of the committee was to completely go over the existing election policies and procedures and suggest changes. It didn't take us long to realize that we could meet for the next three years and not be able to account for every possible situation. Each new election will potentially bring up situations that may fall into question and the Nomination Committee will have to have discussions around them. These policies and procedures are living breathing documents. Heck the Constitution of the United States has been in place for over 200 years and we still amend it.
I'm glad that I was able to take part in the Nomination Committee this year. It gave me a lot of insight into a process that I wasn't familiar with previously. That being said, it's not too early to think about being a part of the 2016 Nomination Committee!
Lori (@loriedwards) has been with SentryOne since 2013, and has recently transitioned from her role as Senior Solutions Engineer to Training Manager. She is responsible for all learning strategy and architecture, including building, executing, measuring, and evaluating training for SentryOne. Lori is also currently serving as a Director at Large for PASS. Lori shares tips and tidbits for DBAs picked up over years of working as a DBA, as well as stories about her job here. Whether you are a new DBA who wants to learn or someone interested in learning about what it is like to work for SentryOne, be sure to check out Lori’s blog.