Does a professional have to be paid to have credibility?

After my recent election-related post, the Houston Chronicle published a piece regarding the Precinct 1 Constable election. And I couldn’t help but notice this quote:

“We don’t need a volunteer running the constable’s office,” [Danna] said. “We need a full-time, professional peace officer, and that’s what I’ve been for 18 years.'”

The reference here is to Alan Rosen’s status as a reserve officer, which is a volunteer position. The implication is that Alan is less qualified simply because he is a volunteer, not being paid for his current job. As someone with a lengthy volunteer history, I find the implication a bit offensive; one can take pride in one’s work and do it in a professional manner, even if not being paid for it.

I originally was not going to bring this up, but it is worth noting that Mr. Danna’s daughter and the treasurer of his campaign, Monica Danna, was the lead organizer of WordCamp Houston 2010 and in fact was just mentioned in this blog not too long ago for her dubious handling of the proceeds from that event, which were to be awarded as a college scholarship. The difference between my criticism of Ms. Danna as an organizer and Mr. Danna’s attack of Alan Rosen, however, is that my criticism was based on an evaluation of the merits of Ms. Danna’s performance and the facts I had available at the time. I further believe that Mr. Danna could and should have made a better choice for the treasurer of his campaign.

Originally, my criticism of Ms. Danna’s handling of the WordCamp Houston proceeds was based on the assumption that she and the other organizers simply sat on the funds without looking for a student for the scholarship to be awarded to. I have since learned that there was an attempt to publicize the search for a student to award the scholarship so, but if I was looking for this and never saw it, I question whether or not it happened. My formal inquiry as to where and when this was publicized has yet to be answered, and may have been ignored. (I will follow up on these later developments in more detail in a later post, but I suspect whichever organizer(s) ultimately received the inquiry may be intentionally withholding answers until after the election, realizing full well it’s relevant to political commentary. I’m not going to fall for that, and any publicist with the experience level comparable to that of Ms. Danna should know better than to do that.)

If Monica Danna cannot handle simple publicity better than a rookie flack, she has no business running an event like WordCamp Houston or the treasury of a political campaign, even if it is her father’s.

If Joe Danna lacks the good judgment to not attack his opponent based merely on whether that opponent’s current job is paying, he has no business being the leader of a law enforcement agency, and dare I say it, may well have no business even carrying a badge and a gun himself.

And my response to Mr. Danna’s tweet, stating in part: “Pct. 1 needs a law enforcement professional; NOT a volunteer/investor”? It reads as follows: Precinct 1 needs a law enforcement professional, not a politician. Alan Rosen is a law enforcement professional; Joe Danna is a politician, and not even that great of a politician at that.