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Summary of comments NomCom Review

  • To: nomcom-review@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Summary of comments NomCom Review
  • From: Donna Austin
  • Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 17:07:17 -0700

Summary of public comments for:

REVIEW OF NOMINATING COMMITTEE

Comment period ended: 11 April 2008

Summary published: 14 April 2008


BACKGROUND

ICANN has been provided with the Interisle Consulting Group's review of ICANN's 
Nominating Committee (NomCom). This report will be used to inform ICANN's 
effort to develop detailed proposals for improving the way ICANN fills 
leadership positions. ICANN's Board will work with the ICANN community to 
consider this report, along with public input, in a collaborative process to 
strengthen this element of ICANN. This independent review of the NomCom is the 
second in a series of such reviews mandated in ICANN's bylaws as part of 
ICANN's ongoing commitment to evolve and improve its operations.

GENERAL COMMENTS

There have been six respondents to the comment period covering a wide range of 
issues associated with the review.

GS's submission specifically covered the issue of shortening the time between 
nominee selection and the subsequent announcement of appointees with a view to 
reducing the window during which leaks can occur and generally improving the 
actual and perceived 'crispness' of the whole process.  GS submission outlined 
possible ways in which the time period could be shortened, focusing 
specifically on the due diligence process.

SR's submission addressed five of the recommendations from the Interisle report.
III.1 Balance confidentiality and transparency-he considers confidentiality 
should prevail and the need not be undermined by efforts to provide 
transparency.
III.2 Treat candidates more respectfully-agreed that this is very desirable.  
Unsuccessful candidates should be advised at the earliest possible time.
III.3 Recruit and select based on requirements-considered this recommendation 
could be unfair and does not understand why it is a specific recommendation if 
the process is working fine.
III.11 Hold NomCom appointees accountable-agreed and considered there should be 
a mechanism to assure that NomCom appointees performance is measured and their 
performance evaluated, possibly including peer evaluations.
III.12 Transform the NomCom process-cautioned against implementation of 
recommendations before carefully considering options, particularly the 
recommendations advocating a 'pool of candidates' and 'lottery' selection of 
NomCom members.

SR also expressed reservations about the suggestion that the NomCom no longer 
be involved in the selection of ALAC members.

EP provided a statistical analysis of the 47 persons interviewed as part of 
Interisle's research.

AD, noting a bias as a NomCom appointee to the GNSO, considered it appropriate 
for the NomCom to continue making selections to the GNSO and ccNSO Councils and 
ALAC because even within a constituency structure it is critical to have some 
participants whose goals are the general welfare of ICANN, including the 
importance of the constituency/shareholder bottom up process.  If the ALAC, 
ccNSO or GNSO is responsible for selecting their own outside influences, these 
influences will always tend toward similarity with the insiders.

AD does not support the idea of an Administrative Director on the basis that 
while the intention is that it not be a staff position, she does consider that 
the person would absorb ICANN corporate thinking patterns from permanent 
association and identification with the staff.  Also does not support the 
notion of separating the Board into two roles.

AD endorses the idea of including next year's Chair as a member of the NomCom.

AD does not consider the lack of consistent thinking to be a detriment to the 
work of the group, rather the goal of making everyone see the world in a 
homogeneous way seems not only futile but counter productive.

AD raised concerns about the 'due diligence' background check requirements 
noting that the checks resemble security checks more than they do fiduciary 
background checks.  Also noted there is a disparity between the checks required 
for NomCom appointments and those Directors elected by constituencies.  AD 
recommended that ICANN's practices in doing background checks on all candidates 
be the subject of a separate, transparent and independent study.

AD recommended, in the interests of transparency, that candidate names be 
published with an invitation of confidential public comment on them.  AD 
heartily endorses the recommendation to treat candidates more respectfully.

TR considered that the NomCom performs a small miracle each year by achieving 
agreement on appointees in a group that is as diverse as the ICANN community
overall.  Great care should be taken to not endanger the committee's ability to 
perform this miracle. A significant part of the secret sauce that makes this 
success possible is the NomCom's secrecy and, yes, the unaccountabilty of 
individual members.  Changes to these points are extremely risky, and should 
only be made with utmost care.

TR noted that he strongly agreed with a number of the recommendations, namely:
* The incoming chair should serve as chair-elect for one year before taking 
over.
* Devolve responsibility for the selection of At-Large Advisory Committee 
members to the ALAC.
* Introduce a formal short-list process (with due care and attention to avoid 
overconstraining the nominating committee)
* Seek better candidate information, from many sources.

TR strongly disagreed with a number of other findings and recommendations, 
namely:

On specific recommendations:

* The associate chair's position should not be abolished; indeed, the report 
suggests a need for a co-chair.  That position's tasks cannot be performed by a 
staff member.
* Formal requirements processes are not obviously better than the (possibly 
messy) social process that is used today, as the ultimate decision is a social 
one.
* The Nominating Committee should keep its responsibility for appointing some 
individuals to SO Councils.  The place to fix the issues with this approach is 
in the SO Council reviews, not in the NomCom review.
* The recommendations on the enforcement of participation rules seem to mostly 
address a non-issue; however, there's potential for damage by implementing 
these recommendations.  Don't.
* Explicit design of the process is valuable to some extent. However, that 
process is not mechanic, so the benefit might turn out to be less than 
expected.  Quite possibly, it's not worth spending resources on this.
* Revoking NomCom appointees is a thorny issue; it is not evident why limited 
terms (in combination with NomCom's ability not to reappoint incumbents) aren't 
sufficient.
* The audit requirement seems inconsistent with real-life time lines for NomCom 
work and succession.
* The fiduciary / policy board proposal oversteps the bounds of the Nominating 
Committee review's mandate.
* The lottery process for selecting members of the Nominating Committee aims to 
cure a disease for which no evidence beyond vague hearsay and innuendo is 
presented.

PS comments related to the NomCom appointees to the GNSO Council and 
recommended that the NomCom appointments from the GNSO be removed in favour of 
staff finding adhoc experts to participate in GNSO policy working groups.


NEXT STEPS

The summary of comments will be provided to the Board Governance Committee 
NomCom Review Working Group comprising Alejandro Pisanty (Chair), Peter 
Dengate-Thrush, Njeri Rionge, Mouhamet Diop, Jonathan Cohen and Steve Goldstein.

The Working Group will consider these comments in the context of their 
consideration of the Interisle Report and comments received during the workshop 
at the Los Angeles meeting in November 2007.  The Working Group will prepare a 
comprehensive proposal, including specific recommendations address all 
improvements and changes deemed necessary for the effectiveness of the NomCom 
and ICANN's process for selecting individuals to serve on the Board and in 
other leadership positions.

A draft report will be provided to the BGC for consideration, prior to being 
posted for public comment.  The comments received will assist the Working Group 
in refining the report to a final version.


CONTRIBUTORS

AD      Avri Doria
GS      George Sadowsky
PS      Philip Sheppard
EP      Elisabeth Porteneuve
SR      Sebastien Ricciardi
TR      Thomas Roessler






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