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[gnso-osc] GNSO Council Proxy Procedures: Clarification

  • To: "'Gomes, Chuck'" <cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx>, "'Philip Sheppard'" <philip.sheppard@xxxxxx>, <gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [gnso-osc] GNSO Council Proxy Procedures: Clarification
  • From: "Ken Bour" <ken.bour@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2011 13:15:03 -0400


I believe that we (me included) are using the same term in multiple ways
resulting in confusion and miscommunication.   

"Voting Direction" (capitalized) is a defined remedy that is used in
situations when a Councilor faces a confliction situation which can be
avoided by asking the appointing organization for instruction how to vote.
This circumstance is probably quite rare, but it was included for the sake
of completeness.  This formal Voting Direction remedy does not apply to
absence situations.  

We have also been applying the term "voting direction" (lower case) to Proxy
because the current rules require that the appointing organization must (a)
have an established voting position in advance and (b) direct its Councilor
how to vote.  For a planned absence, if the chosen remedy is Proxy, then the
above two rules would be followed, presumably, and "voting direction" would
occur; however, the instruction comes not from another Councilor, but the
appointing organization.  Other than the NCA case, the procedures do not
provide any option in which one Councilor can give a proxy to another
Councilor.  Only the appointing organization can decide (a) whether to
remedy an abstention condition (not required) and, if it is to be remedied,
(b) which remedy to exercise (e.g., Proxy or Temporary Alternate) as well as
the individual who will serve.  

In another thread to Ray, you asked about unplanned absences, so I will
attempt to provide my understanding for that situation.  Paragraph 3.8.1(b)
covers the case of unplanned absence.  The only remedy that exists for these
circumstances is absentee balloting.  The reason is that, in order to
execute a Proxy or Temporary Alternate, the procedures "...must be completed
prior to the start of the GNSO Council meeting in which the vote will be
taken."  The GCOT recognized that it would be at the very least disruptive
to the Secretariat and the Council to attempt executing a voting remedy
while the meeting is in progress.  If an absence occurs suddenly, without
the opportunity to plan a remedy, and absentee balloting does not apply,
then the only remaining option available is to record "absent" for any votes
taken.  The GCOT did consider opening up the absentee balloting process to a
much wider list of motions, possibly even completely unconstrained; however,
the team ultimately decided that the procedures should not make it easier
for Councilors to be absent and still have their votes recorded.  Another
part of the rationale was that, if absentee balloting were exercised too
frequently, Council votes would have to wait 72 hours (or longer) in order
to know the final result.  That potential outcome was also considered
undesirable; as a result, the four narrow categories were retained for
absentee balloting.  

Does that help?


-----Original Message-----
From: Gomes, Chuck [mailto:cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 12:27 PM
To: Ken Bour; Philip Sheppard; gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [gnso-osc] GNSO Council Proxy Procedures: Clarification


Why did the GCOT decide that the voting direction option should not apply to


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx] On 
> Behalf Of Ken Bour
> Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 12:16 PM
> To: 'Philip Sheppard'; gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [gnso-osc] GNSO Council Proxy Procedures: Clarification
> Philip:
> In answer to your question, it might be helpful to understand that the 
> defines two types of abstentions:  volitional and obligational.   The
> latter
> category occurs when some personal or professional conflict arises
> respect to a motion (a.k.a. "conflict of interest").   Volitional
> abstentions include the following types of situations (illustrative) 
> that a Councilor might encounter:
>    - Perception of being inadequately informed
>    - Has not participated in relevant discussions or studied available 
> materials
>    - Lacks sufficient understanding, expertise, or technical knowledge
> When the GCOT first started working on voting remedies, they only 
> applied to the above abstentions.  Later, it occurred to the GCOT that 
> voting remedies should also be available for incidental absence and 
> even more
> situations such as leaves and vacancies.  Because the entire section
> abstentions and remedies had already been drafted, the GCOT recognized 
> that, for an absence, all that a Councilor would have to do is declare 
> a voluntary abstention (added 4th reason = I cannot be present) and 
> the voting remedies become available without having to perform major 
> surgery on the procedures.
> In essence, an abstention is interpreted to mean, quite simply, "I 
> choose not to vote" and it can be declared for any number of 
> legitimate reasons including non-attendance.
> I understand how this construct might appear confusing (i.e., absence
> >
> abstention); however, I assure you that no deception was ever
> Everything summarized above is thoroughly documented within Sections
> 3.8 and
> 4.5 of the GOP.
> If you have any additional questions, I will do my best to address 
> them.
> The GCOT's development of these procedures, as you can imagine, was 
> intense and challenging and took the better part of a year to 
> accomplish.  I retained in my archives every email and document 
> version from the earliest drafts (Fall 2009).  We also have the audio 
> recordings of GCOT meetings.
> With a bit of research, I should be able to reconstruct the logic tree 
> for practically every consensus decision made.
> Regards,
> Ken Bour
> P.S.  The Voting Direction remedy does not apply in the case of an 
> absence - only an abstention caused by some conflicting situation.  
> Also, when Voting Direction does apply, it can only come from an 
> Appointing
> not
> another Councilor.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx] On 
> Behalf Of Philip Sheppard
> Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2011 10:46 AM
> To: gnso-osc@xxxxxxxxx
> Subject: RE: [gnso-osc] GNSO Council Proxy Procedures: Clarification
> Thanks Ken,
> I hoped had had caught this is my point 2 but your detail is most 
> helpful.
> Personally, I find the idea of declaring an abstention when in fact
> an
> absence to be odd.
> At best it is confusing, at worst deceptive (especially if a voting 
> direction is then provided by the absent Councilor) !
> I'd be interested to learn why this construction was invented.
> Philip

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