Will The Real Shady Please Stand Up?

Hopefully this is the last time I write about the upcoming dance elections, at least until after the election is over. I might decide to write about the results, should said results turn out to be interesting.

Have you been keeping track of what has been going on? It looks like, based on the email that was sent out and the information posted on a website discussing the information that was included in the email in more detail, that all the appeals and reviews are done. We finally have all the names available to us that are likely to appear on the upcoming ballot. Are you excited? Probably not. It’s not a super exciting bit of news, if I’m being honest.

According to the information I saw, it looks like only five of the candidates that were originally rejected by the mysterious election committee for the various positions they submitted their names for in the upcoming election opted to appeal those rejections. Four of those five were subsequently reevaluated and approved to have their names added to the ballot. So… yay for them? I don’t know whether I should feel excited for these people or not. If you went on to read the committee’s write-up of why the candidates were rejected in the first place and what was done during the appeal to resolve those issues, you may be left scratching your head like I was.
Some of the reasons that candidates were rejected by the committee don’t feel like decisions that said committee should have been able to make, in my personal opinion. Like rejecting one candidate for what they felt was a ‘lack of experience’ for the position they wished to run for. The candidate felt that they had the skills necessary to hold the position, and had put down experience on their resume that showed they could apply those skills successfully. Shouldn’t it be left up to the voters in the organization to decide if what the candidate provided as proof of experience is enough to award them the votes needed to be elected to the position in question?

Other rejections that were documented make the committee look bad. Like the blurb they wrote about one candidate who had asked to be added to the ballot for a delegation position. The person had submitted all the documentation required, but the committee had still rejected them. When the person appealed that decision, the committee disclosed that they had asked the candidate via email to write up and submit to them some sort of candidate statement that they wanted to include with information they would be distributing. That email the committee sent to the candidate had gone to the candidate’s spam folder, so the candidate didn’t see it until after the submission date had passed. With no acknowledgement to their email they had sent, the committee had gone ahead and rejected the candidate for lack of written statement.

Except… as it turns out, in the organization’s own documentation, the requirements say that a candidate “may” submit a written statement, not that they must submit one like it says for the other documents that the candidate had provided. So whether this person saw the email before the required deadline or not, the committee had no grounds to reject that person for not including the written statement. If they want to require such documentation from candidates, they will have to go back after this election cycle is over and have the candidate requirements rewritten to include it as a requirement rather than something the candidate “may” include with the other information they turn in.

Silly committee…

Some of the ethics concerns that the committee used to reject candidates were interesting. The one candidate who had requested an appeal and was still denied had a whole laundry list of weird things that the committee had written up to justify their rejection. None of the things they wrote down were illegal per se, but reading through them made me grimace a few times at how questionable the actions seemed on paper. Still, the write-up provided by the committee only tells the story of these ethical concerns from the committee’s perspective. I wonder if the actions would sound different if the candidate had a chance to talk about them with the voting members of the organization.

The documentation also talked about another candidate they rejected for ethical concerns, and this one I thought was interesting because they did not provide enough information to really determine if the actions they thought were questionable were really something to be concerned about or not. This candidate had disclosed that they were one of the leaders of a dance club in their area, and that the dance club held all their dance parties at a studio that the candidate also had an ownership stake in. The committee cited that as a financial conflict of interest, and flagged it as an ethical concern great enough to warrant leaving their name off the ballot originally.

However, what they didn’t mention was what the dance landscape looked like in that candidate’s area. I think about how so many of the dance studios in my area have had to close recently, leaving the number of studios available where all the area’s ballroom clubs could hold a party very limited. If you happened to own/partially own a studio, and also wanted to help run a ballroom club in your area, and there were no other studios in the area where you could hold your club’s parties, can you really hold that against someone? Sure, they may stand to profit slightly from the event, but if there is nowhere else that is nearby to use, can that really be called an ethical issue?

If this was really enough of a concern to reject this candidate from the ballot, the least they could have done is include in their rejection documentation a count of how many other (non-franchise) dance studios/venues were within a twenty mile radius of the studio that the club was currently using. That way they could say for sure that there were other options that the dance club could have used that would not have caused any financial conflicts of interest. Without that information, it’s hard to tell whether what this person was doing was actually unethical, or just a decision that was made based on limited dance resources in the geographic area.

I guess the bigger takeaway from reading the provided documentation about the candidate rejections is this: if you have what seems like a fairly decent sized pool of applicants for all these elected positions, but you have a committee that rejects a large portion of those for one reason or another… what is wrong with this organization that you don’t have more candidates who are actually qualified willing to step up and run for these positions?

Take the top position in this organization, for instance. As I mentioned last week, out of five (or seven) candidates who originally threw their hats into the ring for that position, the committee rejected all but one. A few of those candidates appealed, and now the list the organization sent out says that there will be three candidates approved to be on the ballot.

That’s a step in the right direction, but… in releasing the details of why the others were rejected in the first place, it really makes me question how, in an organization this size, you can have so few qualified applicants apply for the position in the first place. Only one candidate of those three was able to pass whatever ethical/experience bar that the election committee determined was needed for a candidate to qualify for the position in the first place. Why is it that no one else who could pass that bar would want to be considered for the position?

If a larger number of your candidates are rejected for ethical concerns than are rejected for lack of experience, that makes it sound like there are no good people who want to step up and help lead from these national positions in your organization… only ethically compromised people seem to want these jobs. That’s troubling, isn’t it? What is the organization doing behind the scenes that is calling to these people to add their names to the ballot, and keeping the good people away?

It feels like shady business in the world of dance politics.

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