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ICANN travel support policy

  • To: <travel-support-policy@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: ICANN travel support policy
  • From: "Ruth, Gregory R." <gruth@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 10:51:45 -0400

I would like to echo the statements of others who have commented here.
ICANN, as a bottom-up policy making organization, relies on the work of
volunteers who donate their time and efforts without compensation.  It
follows that these volunteers ought to be supported by ICANN.  And
indeed the ICANN corporation has supported them in various ways since
its inception by providing regular meetings in the five ICANN regions at
no cost to participants, through excellent staff support, etc.  However,
travel support for SOs has been rather ad hoc and uneven over the years.
It is high time to create and administer a uniform travel support policy
for SO councilors.

Right now, only those SO councilors elected by the NomCom receive travel
support.  But there is no cogent rationale for treating those councilors
differently from the rest of the councilors who are elected by their
respective constituencies - we all do the same work.  For most of us,
this is not our "day job" and yet we (and often the organizations from
which we come) give generously of our time, talent and energy to further
ICANN's goals.  Therefore we should all be reimbursed for reasonable
travel expenses in the same way.

It has been suggested that elected councilors are simply lobbyists for
the interests of their own organizations and, as such, ought to be
supported by those organizations instead of ICANN.  The facts do no bear
these assertions out.  Although councilors rightly represent the
viewpoints of the stakeholder groups from which they are elected, our
history has shown that they have generally tried to work together for
the best interests (as they see them) of the Internet.  Furthermore,
many of the organizations from which these councilors come stand to
derive little or no benefit from influencing ICANN policy development.
If any councilor does believe the she/he is a paid lobbyist, perhaps
that councilor should choose to forgo ICANN travel support (and even
recuse himself/herself from the policy making process entirely).  But
the surest way to ensure that in the long run *only* lobbyists
participate is to refuse travel support to councilors.

As for business class travel vs. economy class, I believe that is a
secondary or tertiary issue.  If ICANN truly has insufficient funds to
provide for business class travel for long trips, I would rather see the
money spent on getting more participants to the face-to-face meetings.
Despite their best efforts, the airlines haven't killed me yet.

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