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Re: [bc-gnso] FW: [council] Confirmation of new practice at face to face open council meetings

  • To: icann@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Re: [bc-gnso] FW: [council] Confirmation of new practice at face to face open council meetings
  • From: Liz Williams <lizawilliams@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 25 Oct 2009 03:02:41 +0000

Hello Mike

I'm sympathetic to the issues you've raised particularly as the weekend sessions are really working drafting sessions.

I've had some experience of this in other environments and would like to suggest a middle ground which may help over-worked Councillors.

We have proposed an Issue Manager/Rapporteur system in the new Charter and I suggest that anyone who volunteers to do work on issues (whatever they are) ought to be at the table as well. This helps new members/volunteers become experienced at dealing with a wide range of issues in great detail. It is also a supportive position for the Councillors. It spreads the work around and also maximises the use of different skills in the group (for example, some are better on technical issues than legal drafting or intellectual property or competition).

For example, it would probably work something like (and I'll use me as a hypothetical) this.

1. Councillors are at the table supported by me (the Issue Manager) on ABC issue.

2. Issue Manager is responsible for the scribing/writing/presentation of materials.

3. Councillors are there to link different issues and positions together and take that to Council.

This strengthens our work with diverse voices and volunteers taking responsibility who are "rewarded" with a seat the table.

Best wishes.

On 25 Oct 2009, at 01:18, Mike Rodenbaugh wrote:

Fyi below from the Council Chair, in response to the attached email string begun by me, and subsequent discussion of Council this morning. I have had these very strong feelings for a long time now, and various less formal
efforts to remedy the situation have not been effective.

The Council appears nearly unanimous in support of the concept that
Councilors should be given every opportunity to speak at Council meetings,
and any public comment periods within the weekend meetings will be
structured more as they are in the large public Council meetings held on Wednesday of the ICANN meetings. This is an effort to make Council more
efficient, and to allow Councilors to do their jobs without constant
interruptions from non-representative individuals. Of course, there are many other opportunities for such individuals to voice their comments and
questions through the GNSO's bottom-up, open and transparent policy
development practices, including the BC's internal practices.

Mike Rodenbaugh
548 Market Street
San Francisco, CA  94104
(415) 738-8087

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx ] On
Behalf Of Avri Doria
Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 5:37 PM
To: Council GNSO
Subject: [council] Confirmation of new practice at face to face open council


After this mornings meeting I wanted to confirm several actions that I took
away from the meeting:

1. the seats at the table for open council meetings will be reserved for
council members, liaisons and relevant staff.  Chair, vice-chair
(s) and staff will request that others take the observers seats. For future meetings name placards will be requested to those to be seated at the table.

2. the observers will be requested to queue at the microphones, and the chair will be responsible for giving them the floor at appropriate points, though precedence for speaking will be given to those around the table.

3. any further changes to the practices at open meetings will be discussed
by the new council at its discretion.

Please let me know if I have misinterpreted the will of that meeting.


From: "Gomes, Chuck" <cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 24 October 2009 23:50:08 BST
To: <icann@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "GNSO Council" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: [council] End of the Shadow Council

Thanks Mike. Maybe we will have time to discuss this in our breakfast meeting.


From: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx ] On Behalf Of Mike Rodenbaugh
Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 5:42 PM
To: GNSO Council
Subject: RE: [council] End of the Shadow Council

Hi Chuck,
This is not a policy development issue, but instead is administrative. I have twice been elected to represent the BC in Council administrative matters. Specifically per our Charter section 4.1, “[t]he representatives will act in the GNSO Council as representatives of and spokespersons for the Constituency and will collaborate with other members of the Council in pursuit of the mission of the Constituency.”

I am only trying to discontinue an unwarranted privilege by which unrepresentative persons increasingly usurp the role of representative Councilors and Liaisons, and which unduly takes time from the entire Council and Staff.

Do you have any reasoned argument against this?


Mike Rodenbaugh
548 Market Street
San Francisco, CA  94104
(415) 738-8087

From: Gomes, Chuck [mailto:cgomes@xxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 2:15 PM
To: icann@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx; GNSO Council
Subject: RE: [council] End of the Shadow Council


Is this a CBUC request?


From: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx ] On Behalf Of Mike Rodenbaugh
Sent: Saturday, October 24, 2009 4:42 PM
To: GNSO Council
Subject: [council] End of the Shadow Council

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
(415) 738-8087

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