PASS Bylaws Updated for 2009

Last week PASS voted to update the bylaws by which we govern ourselves.  Changing the bylaws requires a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors.  This is the first bylaw update since I started on the Board in 2006.  This update was focused on members and elections.  You can find our bylaws on the Governance page of our web site (

Our previous bylaws defined various classes of members including paid and free.  They only gave voting rights to paying members.  As part of the Summit registration process all Summit attendees automatically became paying members.  Once the Board eliminated the paying membership we were left with only Summit attendees voting in elections.  This didn’t match our stated goal of making PASS more than a Summit.

The new bylaws define a “member in good standing”.  The specific definition of this is not in the bylaws however.  We expect this definition to grow as we create better ways of interacting with the community.  A separate document will be approved by the Board and published that defines who can vote in the upcoming election.  We expect this will be the basis for future elections as well.  As the committee creates this document they are trying to balance broad inclusion with limiting to people that are invested in the organization.  Our overall goal is that the population of people that can vote grows beyond what it has been.  Hopefully this will keep us from updating the bylaws in the future if we add new classes of members.

We also worked on the sections around elections.  We added more structure to the Nominations Committee and the process for selecting the head of the committee. This is the process that Directors at Large go through to be elected to the Board.

The President, Executive Vice President and Vice President of Marketing make up the Executive Committee (or ExecCo) along with the Executive Director and the Immediate Past President.  These people are defined as the Officers of PASS and “exercise the authority of the Board between meetings”.

In the past it had been somewhat opaque how the candidates were selected to run for the officer positions.  The bylaws now define an Officer Appointment Committee that is separate from the Nominations Committee.  This group determines the slate of officer candidates from those people currently serving on the Board.  This group is presented to the Board and approved by Board vote.  Our goal here was to make explicit how these roles were filled in practice.

I encourage you to take a look at the bylaws.  They are rules that govern how PASS is run in our mission to serve the SQL Server community.

Bill Graziano
Vice President of Marketing