Why bother with a NomCom? What is the value add?
Doing away with the NomCom would eliminate a step of the process and the power of that group is negligible. Put out a strict criteria for those that can run and let them run. Just have one or two people vet the information in their submission documentation.
Gavin Campbell commented
I'd agree that the NomCom's scope should be reduced to verifying that candidates met the requirements for office.
In most (democratic) electoral systems this is an administrative function rather than one carried out by elected representatives themselves - in the case of the US, for instance, it would be rather odd for a State Board of Elections to provide a ranking of candidates to the electorate, or to advise the candidates on the demands of office, which seems to me to be precisely what occurs under the present structure of PASS.
This should be adequate defense against "fraudulent" applications, but even so there's often a mechanism to remove sitting representatives whose credentials are subsequently found to be invalid (ask Donald Trump about this one).
As for the frivolous applications, I don't see that they're necessarily a problem. Presumably they wouldn't be getting too many votes in any case.
One defense against the "frivolous" cases might be to require a certain number of declared supporters -this could be a pretty small number, I think it's only 10 for UK parliamentary elections. This is common in many electoral systems.
If a "frivolous" - but qualified - candidate were to end up beating out a "serious" candidate because the "frivolous" candidate was better able to motivate his supporters to vote, this wouldn't indicate any problem with the electoral system.
Karen Lopez commented
So I can't find the info easily now, but Nic I believe the criteria for serving on the board would exclude Mr. Colbert. I seem to recall they asked for some sort of focus in SQL Server as well as some sort of chapter-experiences.
There was a big controversy a few years ago because someone was running and wasn't a former DBA even.
Nic Cain commented
Karen, if Stephen Colbert was a member of PASS he would absolutely have the right to run (provided he met the published criteria). It would then be down to the members to decide whether or not to vote him on to the board.
Nic Cain commented
I understand the desire to use them to filter out unsuitable applications, however I question how they are positioned to be able to do so.
For example, you mention the Nom Com helping the candidates understand the demands of service on the board. Frankly only prior or existing board members are qualified to do that, which could lead to the board being a part of that process rather than a volunteer committee of folks who have not served in that position. Additionally, short of board members I do not know that there is anyone who is in a position to accurately judge the candidates, and certainly not in a position to put a ranking on them.
Ranking is significant, and extremely scary. It puts the Nom Com in a position where they are stating "these are the people we want to see" which I do not feel should be done in this kind of democratic process. Each person should be allowed to view things as they need to and not be swayed by what you would expect to be an impartial committee (consciously or not people pick up on this information).
Maybe a team of 3 could go through and initially vet applications to see if they are viable candidates who meet the published criteria for running. From there though I see it needing to go to current and past board members as they are the only people positioned to understand all the nuances involved in ensuring that candidates are aware of the full requirements and that they are in a position to fulfill those needs.
Karen Lopez commented
Based on my experience (ask me about this situations sometime), if you have criteria in the bylaws for who can be a candidate, you need to have a Nom Com process.
As much as I'd like to see Stephen Colbert be on the board, he might not have the best interest of the community in mind.
Hi Nic and thank you for your suggestion.
The Nom Com is a body that is set up to perform that review you mention. Allen has suggested that we look at how this is formed - which I think is a great suggestion. However, your suggestion is that we go further. It does also pose a question. So I think it is important that we answer that first.
What does Nom Com do? - What is the value add?
The Nom Com is formed to validate candidate submissions and filter out unsuitable applications. However, it does go further than check references and content. They also help candidates understand the demands of serving on the board and do their best to ensure that they have the pre-requisite skills for the role. Part of this process includes an interview with each candidate. When serving on the board a Director will need to demonstrate powers of persuasion and good team building skills amongst many other soft skills. Traditionally, it's been hard to see that side of a candidate as most of the election interaction has been through forums or blog posts. The output of the Nom Com is a final list of candidates that have been ranked based on the strength of their application. The Nom Com can suggest to the board that a candidate does not go through. The ranking is significant. The community can use this as a guide and in that sense it is an input into the election process.
I would love to get your feedback on this to see if you still feel the same way. Please let us know.
Do you believe this is sufficient value add?
Are there any areas you think we could augment or drop?
Do you have any other suggestions on how we could get more value add or should we be thinking in a different direction?
How could we prevent frivolous or fraudulent applications?
Your thoughts here would be greatly appreciated! Also if any other members in the community agree or disagree with Nic then do please share your view and vote accordingly.