On Friday Thomas LaRock posted Changes to the NomCom Process on the PASS blog for comment prior to the Board voting on the changes at the March meeting. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so before reading my comments.
First, some quick background and disclosures. I served on the committee that created the majority of the current NomCom process and recently served on the NomCom which also suggested some minor changes to the process. I was also one of the people consulted by Tom prior to his writing his recommendations in the post above.
Next, I want to thank Tom for posting the proposed changes. There is a lot of value in making these debates and decisions open to the members, and it continues the culture of transparency so many of us have worked on and asked for over the years. We can’t measure the value based on the number of comments (though we might aspire to get more comments in general!), but even one comment can often reframe the debate. At the end of this the Board will consider the proposal and any other feedback available to them before voting. Note that the feedback need not be negative, it can just as easily be an “ok” comment. While I’m pleased that the changes are up for comment, I wish the Board would also put any governance topic up at an online town hall as well. Governance matters. Taking time to do it right is the right thing to do.
On to the proposal. I’m not sure the changes proposed will meet the goals or be the best way to do so. For example, nothing in the proposal seems to me to be able to increase the number of qualified candidates for the Board or the number of ballots cast in the general election (very worthy goals though). I don’t see how the proposed changes do more than reduce the election timeline by more than a a couple weeks (the removal of the election of the NomCom).
The entire NomCom election process was designed to remove the idea of it being a “private club”. It was surely that back in the days when the IPP picked the entire team with no public input. Is an election bulky? A little. I’d argue it’s been a valuable warm up for HQ and the election/voting process. Could be there be a better way? I suggested that having Chapter Leaders vote on the NomCom might be a nice way to split the difference.
With regards to process, where I think we haven’t done nearly as well as we should have is in documenting and educating NomCom members not just on their role, but why the role is a certain way. For example, in our conversation Tom mentioned he wanted to remove ranking from the process and only show the ratings of candidates (ratings were added recently and I think are a positive change). I replied that rankings were there as a “just in case” the NomCom needed to prune the list – imagine a case where there are 50 candidates. That will probably never happen, but having a documented and published process will protect us if that scenario occurs. The work of ranking candidates was changed to an “only if needed” process during my last NomCom tenure.
I wish I had time to write more, for there is a lot to this. The biggest thing I’d ask you to think about is this – why can’t/didn’t we charter a formal committee to look at problems, suggestions, etc, and have both private and public discussions. This is goverance. We need full transparency, we need ideas, and we need someone (lots of someones) to look at proposed changes and think about the impact.
That’s my ask. Charter the ERC again. Let’s talk about improving the process. Let’s really talk about how we can get more qualified and interested candidates for the Board and how we can increase voter turn out.
Thanks for reading. Please post any comments about the proposed changes on the PASS blog. I’ll post a link to this post there too.