[gnso-ppsc-pdp] Issue of who can request deferral of consideration of an issue
- To: PDP-WT <gnso-ppsc-pdp@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: [gnso-ppsc-pdp] Issue of who can request deferral of consideration of an issue
- From: Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2011 11:15:03 -0400
I said I would kick off this discussion.
The issue at hand is the phrase (roughly) "any VOTING Council member
may request deferral of consideration of an issue for one Council
meeting" (emphasis mine). It comes up in Recommendations 115 and 37
and other places in the text.
As an aside, I note that in at least one of the occurrences, it says
that it must be a WRITTEN request. I don't recall any discussion
about that and suspect it may be an error.
The first occurrence includes the footnote "The term "voting Council
Member" is intentionally used by the PDP-WT to refer to only those persons
serving on the GNSO Council that have a vote as opposed to liaisons
and others that do not."
I note that mentioning Liaisons here is a red herring, as Liaisons,
by the definition of the GNSO Council in the Bylaws, does not include
Liaison. Not only are Liaisons not listed when the Council members
are being defined (Article X, Section 3.1), but the following
sentence makes it even more explicit:
"Liaisons shall not be members of or entitled to vote, to make or
second motions, or to serve as an officer on the GNSO Council, but
otherwise liaisons shall be entitled to participate on equal footing
with members of the GNSO Council."
I believe that the inclusion of "voting" in our recommendations is in
violation of the Bylaws Article X, Section 3.1e) which states (emphasis mine):
"three representatives selected by the ICANN Nominating Committee,
one of which shall be non-voting, but otherwise entitled to
participate on equal footing with other members of the GNSO Council
including, e.g. the making and seconding of motions and of serving as
Chair if elected. One Nominating Committee Appointee voting
representative shall be assigned to each House (as described in
Section 3(8) of this Article) by the Nominating Committee."
On the chance that this argument is not sufficiently persuasive, I
First a bit of history on the current Council structure. It was
developed by a closed WG (a conflict in terms for ICANN) that was
charged by the Board to come up with a structure acceptable to all
parties within 1 month after the Paris meeting. Avri was the only
other person on that group, but my recollection is that the closed
archives were opened after the fact, so anyone who really cares and
is a real masochist could check for themselves if I am mangling history.
The final recommendation of the group which was adopted by the Board
kept all three Nominating Committee Appointees (NCA) to Council, but
to put one NCA in each house and one on the Council, but houseless
(or homeless as it has been called more recently). Since all voting
is done by house, that last NCA has no vote. One could argue that
since the non-contracted house has twice as many SG Councilors, it
should also have twice as many NCA, but that argument was not
successfully made. Avri was the NCA on the WG representing the NCAs.
I was there as ALAC Liaison, but since I was a NomCom appointee to
the ALAC, I was similarly tainted. We reluctantly accepted this
compromise, but it must be understood that this was under
considerable pressure from some WG members who REALLY wanted to see
ZERO NCAa on Council.
So we accepted it and that is now history. To use the lexicon of
Orwell's Animal Farm, we now had a situation of All Councillor were
equal, but some were more equal than others. It dawned on me when I
was thinking about this note that it would be completely impossible
to conceive of one of the SG accepting that one of their three or six
Councillors would forego their vote.
The origin of the current wording in our report (I *think*) is that
we first started talking about a deferral request coming from a SG to
give the SG time to deliberate, and not from the Councillor
personally. That would have taken the privilege from all NCAs. But on
reconsideration, I think (but I suspect I missed a meeting because I
am a bit vague on this) it was decided that this was a personal
request. I find that quite reasonable, since it is not only the vote
that is critical, but the DISCUSSION. All the more so since several
SGs allow their councillors to vote their conscience and do not bind them.
I don't know when the concept of voting councillors came in, but I
know I found it objectionable. It takes yet another privilege from
the homeless NCA, and without any real justification, or any real
benefit to Council. It means that this NCA may be denied the right to
meaningfully partake in the debate on an issue, and debate is the
ONLY tool that this person has.
I strongly suggest removing the word VOTING from all of the
occurrences. It has no subtle side-effects as the footnote mentioned
above implies. It simple serves to give the homeless the same right
as all 20 other Councillors, and removes a new, seemingly
mean-spirited, insult to the injury already caused by the new Council
If the WG feels that SOME restriction must be added, then I suggest
it be restricted to Council members who are allowed to make motions,
as this is pretty close to a motion (one that does not require a vote
to be accepted).