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[bc-gnso] Concern

  • To: <bc-gnso@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [bc-gnso] Concern
  • From: "Michael D. Palage" <michael@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2009 20:53:31 -0400

Dear Fellow BC Members:



I just want to bring to the group’s attention a position being advocated by one 
of our elected representatives to the Council. Simply stated Mr. Rodenbaugh’s 
position to exclude participation of non council members is totally 
inconsistent with over 11 years of ICANN practice where stakeholders have been 
able to participate within the policy development process (DNSO/GNSO). 


The fact that Mr. Rodenbaugh took this public position without consultation 
within the constituency is in a word – DISAPPOINTING.


I would also like to bring up the potential conflict of interest. A number of 
BC members have a clear interest in new gTLDs, Mr. Rodenbaugh himself has 
disclosed his representation of several TLD prospective clients. The fact that 
Mr. Rodenbaugh seeks to silence the voice of those non council members during 
the weekend session on new gTLD puts individuals like myself at a disadvantage 
while providing Mr Rodenbaugh and his clients a potential advantage.


I would hope through the revisions to the charter we can put in place suitable 
accountability mechanisms to prevent such rogue activities which negatively 
impact BC members such as myself and others.


Best regards,






Mr. Rodenbaugh’s Post to the Council List


Dear Colleagues,


I write again regarding the so-called "Observers" at face-to-face GNSO

Council meetings.  


Of course, I fully support that our face-to-face meetings are generally

always open to true observers, both those present and located remotely.  And

I fully support that all of our meetings are generally fully recorded and

transcribed.  Indeed I think they should be translated, and that our

conference calls be opened in real time to the public, with non-speaking

access.  I fully support that our email list is open and archived.  All of

this allows the public to see how the Council operates in practically

real-time, and to experience the information and debate first-hand.  Council

must have flexibility to close its sessions and/or communicate privately,

when it deems necessary for any stated and agreed reason.  But I believe

that has never happened to date, and of course the default must be open

meetings and open communications.


However, the growing trend is for GNSO "Observers" to participate in the

Council's weekend face-to-face meetings on equal footing with Councilors,

Liasons and Staff.  A small and growing group of privileged observers, none

of whom are elected or appointed to represent anyone but themselves and/or

their specific organizations, are increasingly taking an inordinate amount

of Council and Staff time.  In effect, they are a "Shadow Council" that

follows the Council from meeting to meeting, taking advantage of a privilege

they ought not have.  This must stop, effective immediately.  


It is not scalable as the community of interested observers grows and

diversifies.  It is not fair in any way:  


n  Not fair to Councilors and Liasons who offer great personal sacrifice to

travel long distances away from their lives, volunteering an overly full

weekend in advance of a lengthy five-day meeting.  



n  Not fair to the constituents who elected or appointed the Councilors and

Liasons, expecting that they (and only they) would serve as those

constituents' representatives on Council.  


n  Not fair to the general public whose only opportunities for input to

Council are via the Constituencies, Working Groups or public comment

periods.  Particularly not fair to the general public that does not speak

English, or who cannot attend the sessions, as they have no equal ability to

participate vis a vis the "Shadow Council".


n  Not fair to the Staff nor the Council as a whole, whose only opportunity

to communicate face-to-face is during these meetings.


The GNSO Council is a representative body.  The representative Councilors

and designated Liaisons must be allowed to do their jobs, which absolutely

requires face-to-face interaction with Staff and with each other -- without

constant 'clarifying questions', 'points of order', comments or questions

from the public.    To my knowledge, no other SO, nor the GAC nor the Board

- nor any other council, committee or board anywhere in the world -- ever

allow such privilege to observers.  Such points should be raised through

Council representatives, or during any or all of the many opportunities for

public comment into the Council processes.  Indeed this is the

reason-for-being of the Constituencies themselves, of Working Groups, of

public comment periods in general, and of the public comment periods allowed

at the Council's face-to-face meetings (which can also be used in our

weekend sessions, if time allows).


Therefore, beginning with the newTLD session today, I request that observers

be disallowed equal access to the Council table and microphones, just as

they are disallowed such access at our larger public meetings and in our

conference calls.  The material presented by Staff in the session today will

doubtless be repeated during a public session later in the week, which is a

perfect opportunity for anyone to ask their questions or make their points

directly to the Staff, without wasting tremendously valuable and scarce

face-to-face Council/Staff time.  As we have seen, too many people are

abusing the privilege of open access to raise points that they then raise

again and again at every opportunity throughout the ICANN meeting, and/or to

communicate their particular, non-representative interests.  They are

abusing a privilege that they should not have in the first place, because it

is not fair.


Does anyone have an argument as to why the current privilege should be

allowed to continue?  Is anyone aware of any other council, board or

committee, anywhere in the world, that allows such a privilege to observers?


Otherwise, I hope the privilege will be discontinued immediately, and

request Avri to confirm via reply to this list.  If not, my next effort to

stop this will be an Ombudsman complaint, on behalf of the entire community,

so that this practice is investigated by a neutral party and discussed

formally at the Council and/or Board level(s).  I also request that the

relevant OSC team discuss this and recommend appropriate provisions in our

Council Rules of Procedure to ensure that nobody is given undue and

disruptive access to Council, Liaisons and Staff during our meetings.  


Each and every member of the community - other than the "Shadow Councilors"

and their specific organizations -- suffer from the continuation of this

unwarranted and unseemly privilege that offered to just a few, at the

expense of the many.










Mike Rodenbaugh




548 Market Street


San Francisco, CA  94104



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