I know that this isn’t the correct name, though the by-laws still list this as the corporation. Perhaps this is one more sign of the failure to evolve and grow that I’ve felt from the organization.
Three directors of the PASS Board of Directors resigned this week. Mindy Curnutt, longtime member, volunteer, and advocate for the community was first, with Melody Zacharias and Hamish Watson following suit. You can read their open letters (Mindy, Melody, Hamish), which appear to hint at some sort of disagreement, argument, ethical or moral failure, or maybe just anger. I have no idea what happened, I’m curious as to what it could be, but I also think this might be something better left to fade away.
I’ve had my disagreements with the organization in the past, and I certainly think the culture and governance of the executive board is broken. In the aftermath of outcries from various prominent members of the community, Grant Fritchey left a note that there are legal issues as to what is happening now. I do not know if these are financial/debt issues or something else, and I am not speculating on what these are.
I do appreciate Grant’s engagement with the community, and in my memory, since Kevin Kline, he has been one of the very, very few to actually engage with the community on controversial issues. I haven’t always agreed with him, but I respected and appreciated the effort. However, most directors that have served on the executive committee, which includes the Executive Director from C&C, release very little information. Updates take place relatively rarely and little is proposed or discussed with members publicly.
There is no law or legal liability that would prevent an announcement of acknowledgement of the resignation of directors or a news release that thanks Mindy, Melody, and Hamish for their service. No penalty for noting they have resigned. Here, I’ll make it easy for you on Twitter:
@SQLPASS: Today Mindy Curnutt resigned from the PASS Board of Directors. We thank Mindy for her many years of service and wish her well in future endeavors.
@SQLPASS: Today Melody Zacharias resigned from the PASS Board of Directors. We thank Melody for her many years of service and wish her well in future endeavors.
@SQLPASS: Today Hamish Watson resigned from the PASS Board of Directors. We thank Hamish for his many years of service and wish him well in future endeavors.
No copyright here, feel free to cut and paste. It would be even easier to drop these three notes on the https://www.pass.org/About-PASS/PASS-News page, because, well, this is news.
Instead, we have the same lack of engagement, trust, respect, and leadership that have permeated the culture for well over a decade. No accountability to the membership, or the board of directors, that I can see. Whether this is the appointed members (President, VP-Finance, VP-Marketing), and/or the executive director, they operate indepedently of the community and the board. This has been my primary complaint, and I suspect also, the complaint from many in the SQLFamily community.
I see no reason for a large organization to exist primarily to run a profitable conference that pays salaries and bonuses to an organization that are de facto employees, with management that doesn’t seek to be a part of the community.
As I write that, I’m saddened, mostly for the employees of C&C. Over the years I have had many opportunities to work with Marcella, Craig, Anika, Leeza, Erick, Audrey, and likely others I am forgetting. They have worked hard to ensure events have run smoothly, and I’ve appreciated their help and assistance in various matters. They have been a part of the community and I hope they continue to do so. I’m saddened that they may find themselves cast aside if the organization fails. I do hope they receive proper notice and compensation if this is the case.
My one regret in all of this is that SQL Saturday is inextricably bound up in the legal mechanisms of PASS. Andy Warren, Brian Knight, and I gifted this to the organization, trusting they would be good stewards of the events. They have been, and I know that these events will continue, either under this moniker or another. Our community is too strong to let these lapse. We will find a way for these to continue, whether with PASS or not.
I hope Microsoft continues to support community events and organizations, but I do not hope they provide any more assistance to the PASS organization. The lack of governance and transparency along with the poor culture of the executive committee and management company in engaging with the community, lead me to the conclusion this is not the place to invest and engage with a community.
The organization has helped a strong community grow over the years, but it has outlived its usefulness. It is time for an evolution to something new that better exists to serve the community rather than the organization itself.
I continue to support SQL Saturday events and chapters regardless of affiliation.