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Re: [bc-gnso] Draft GNSO Council letter to the GAC

  • To: Philip Sheppard <philip.sheppard@xxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [bc-gnso] Draft GNSO Council letter to the GAC
  • From: Marilyn Cade <mscade@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 22:36:17 -0400

I have been at an IGF meeting in Geneva, with limited ability to spend time on other than essential items. I responded earlier that I would propose that the BC councilors abstain from a vote, given that there is not a clarity of consensus on this.

I saw Phil Corwin's response to my comment, and I think it is actually consistent with the spirit of my comment. I advised that the BC elected councilors should abstain. Clearly, the councilors of the BC have taken no consultation with the BC membership on this letter. Hence, I proposed an abstention. That allows the elected councilors to state that they cannot take a position, since they have not undertaken consultation.

My views on the growing attitude of the Council that they are in charge of governance of the SO are documented already, so merely reference them here for informational purposes. This is a really signficant issue and one that really has to be addressed. The policy council is the policy council. IT IS NOT the governance mechanism for the SO. A separate approach, that is not inclusive of the policy councilors/policy council should address the adm/management coordination functions.

However the growing tendency of the Council to initiate views, opinions, to draft letters, and to lobby actively in the dinner they have with the Board/Senior staff, sometimes from the feedback I get without any accountability or acknowledging when they are speaking as individuals, and do not have guidance from the membership is of increasing concern. At the same time, the Board is increasingly disconnected from where the broader stakeholders are on larger non policy issues. Clearly, the Policy Council shouldn't
be the answer to that larger problems and serious concern.

The elected policy oouncilors do a lot of hard and difficult work for us. I certainly want to recognize that. However, I do not think that the BC Councilors can or should support this letter. There are many reasons.
the lack of consultation alone is rationale enough.

However, it isn't reasonable to suggest that the councilors not make some kind of response to a vote. They need to vote yes, no, or abstention. They might need to vote earlier to oppose the generation of positions that not founded in consultation with members.. However, when situations develop where there not consultation, abstention allows them to provide a statement. That seems
the appropriate response in this instance.

Now, should the councilors have alerted the membership earlier? Perhaps. Who knows, since the councilors didn't describe the circumstances of when this topic was posed... Perhaps we should be part of the solution and ask out elected councilors to post the agenda, with annotations on what they propose to do about each item. That would put the responsibility on the councilors to advise members, but put the responsibility on members to comment. This will take some management to get enough members interacting to make guidance meaningful, but it could be a useful strategy to support the elected counclors, so that they are not 'out there' having to guess what the
members want/think.

I can understand that there are sometimes exigent circumstances to draft a letter to the Board. There MIGHT be a process where a 72 hour turn around is needed for constituency feedback. In such an instance, I would expect the secretariat of the constituency to post urgent emails,at a minimum, and for members who provide mobile numbers, perhaps
an SMS or text could be sent that there is an urgent feedback situation.

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