Closure with the Professional Organization for SQL Server

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 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.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Closure with the Professional Organization for SQL Server

  1. Mindy Curnutt says:

    Thank you Steve for this blog post. I agree 100% with what you’ve said above. Many of the employees at C&C I consider part of the #sqlfamily, they were never the problem. In fact, they are victims of the whole situation, and put in a very difficult spot. I know we’ll figure out a way to still have our Saturday events, and for the community to go on. Our community has many very talented folks that organize things and are passionate about learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Closing Time - Andy M Mallon - AM²

  3. AKDiscer says:

    Wow, crazy!

    This almost sounds like a Trump-like organization. It is better to let it PASS, lol!

    I support and LOVE SQL Saturdays! It has been a HUGE part of my success and growth as a DBA, especially in the very beginning of my accidental DBA career!

    I hope that in the wake of this, a phoenix arises from the ashes to create what we should have.

    Who are going to be the leaders we need that will forge the path? Please take a call to arms when the time is right and take us where we should be.


  4. way0utwest says:

    Politics aside, I am only looking for the future of SQL Saturday and for common courtesy and acknowledgement of the work by volunteers and these former directors.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. yetanothersql says:

    I strongly support #SQLFamily, and would love to salvage SQL Saturday and PASS if that is practical. If those organizations can’t be salvaged, the community can certainly build new and better ones based on what we’ve learned from PASS 1.0.

    You and Grant are both rock stars in our world. The company that you work for is wonderful too. Thank you and them for all of what you do for the community!

    If PASS is in as much trouble as their present behavior indicates I hope that they return SQL Saturday to the community… SQL Saturday is an ongoing net loss for PASS, so it has no present or future monetary value which means that it won’t interest the lawyers. Both PASS and the community would be better off if they just let SQL Saturday go so that someone else can pick it up.

    It will be interesting to see how the PASS Executive Board decides to deal with their present situation. Things could be better than they seem now, but it appears pretty dark to me based on the almost complete lack of communication.


Comments are closed.