In an email to Prof. Michael Froomkin in the first part of this year, Andrew McLaughlin
stated that regarding the At Large membership process, ICANN had:
obtained $200,000 in grant funding from the Markle Foundation; has hired a
full-time project manager...."
I am assuming that "project manager" refers to a
manager for implementation of the At Large membership process, rather than a "membership
program manager". Such activities are of course quite different - project management
in this case requires a technical proficiency, where as membership program management
require far more background in constituency and customer support / stakeholder relations.
No identification of the project manager appears in the budget - all amounts are
subsumed under the "special projects" category.
Presuming that the "project" will
be substantitially completed and refined within the 2000-20001 budget period, it
would be appropriate to identify the "project manager", their salary range, and their
job description within Budget Exhibit 1 - Staff Organization; to include their compensation
as part of the "Personnel Expenses" line item, and to remove that compensation from
the "special projects" line item.
In the grant proposal to the Markle Foundation,
Budget note (b) states that "The Membership program manager position is a permanent
Even a close reading of the budget documents demonstrates that
no such "permanent staff" position has been identified nor budgeted for. While it
has been determined in principal that the At Large membership shall become self-funding,
equivalent staff support for liason and management, as is already provided for IANA,
Registrar Liasons, and the like should be funded through the general budget.
any detailed information about current spending on the At Large project, it is impossible
to determine which elements of the grant have already been funded, and which remain
for funding. Nonetheless, I propose that the following adjustments to expenses be
made in the budget before it is adopted.
Add a Manager, At Large Membership
Add a Membership Liason position (tech and admin)
Membership Assistant positions (nonexempt)
Add a Webmaster position (nonexempt)
the current compensation ranges and using the assumption that these positions would
be filled at the midpoint within the ranges, this would add approximately $275,000
to the budget. While I question the necessity for compenstation at these ranges within
the context of non-profit corporations, that is a matter for later consideration,
and not something material to this discussion.
Source of Funds:
While the desire
for and goal of a substantial operating reserve is laudable, release of sufficient
funds to rapidly and efficiently accomplish the goals of the At Large Program seems
to me to be a more urgent priority at this time, particulary given the sometimes
stormy relationship ICANN has had with various other community - oriented organizations
Creating an At Large membership that feels empowered,
effective, and desired will ultimately strengthen ICANN tremendously. The best way
to do so is to commit resources to developing and educating the membership. Absent
such a direct, positive, and public committment of funds, it can easily be predicted
that perceptions of the At Large membership as "a smokescreen", "window dressing",
or "grudging concession" will not only continue, but increase. Without these positions,
it can also be predicted that the process itself will be subject to further delays
and missed communications, due to lack of sufficient resources to meet the mandate.