Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I am on a search committee for a very prominent new hire in my
community. (Yes I am being deliberately obscure.) There is an internal
candidate and two external candidates. The search committee has
gone to great lengths to keep a level playing field for all candidates,
following the rules of the national overseeing body for our group, and
posting FAQ about the process since its inception. We’ve done it to
preserve the integrity of the search, and because there is split opinion
among our constituency about the incumbent. The incumbent signed
onto the process. Now that it is getting closer to the final decision I am
getting a lot of pressure from certain friends about how I should act.
How can I keep the process and the friendships intact?


Dear Representative:

Any time there is a process that is not an actual one-person one-vote
style election, people begin to feel a little disenfranchised. Even in a
legal democracy there are issues that make people feel their vote is
diminished (e.g. Citizens United, laws about voting access, etc). In an
executive search in a private company, or a search for a non-profit
leader, or any other representative democracy, the stakes go up as
the final decision draws closer, as does the pressure on the reps.


Become a parrot with a simple message and keep repeating it no
matter which friend asks what question or applies pressure: The
search committee is following national guidelines. They’re designed to
create a level playing field. Every thing we have done is in accordance
with those guidelines and every relevant party, including the
incumbent, has signed off on it. Also, the final voting will be
confidential so please do not ask me what candidate I supported,
because I can tell you now that I won’t say, even if it is the person
your prefer. I can predict that no decision will receive unanimous
support. There should be a designated process identified in the FAQ for
people to comment, and a clear delineation of the final decision
making process.