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[council] Input Requested on Council Restructuring

  • To: "council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, liaison6c <liaison6c@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [council] Input Requested on Council Restructuring
  • From: "Denise Michel" <denise.michel@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 16:01:05 -0700
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Dear GNSO Community Leaders:

As I reported during yesterday's GNSO Council teleconference meeting and
previously via email, the ICANN Board made significant progress discussing
various aspects of the GNSO Council restructuring at its 28 August meeting.
During the meeting, Board members discussed a number of consensus
recommendations developed by the special working group on GNSO Council
Restructuring (WG-GCR).  The Board endorsed the direction of the WG-GCR
Report and approved a bicameral voting structure that includes contracted
and non-contracted party houses each composed of voting stakeholder
representatives and independent nominating committee appointees (see <
http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/council/msg05417.html>). The
Board directed that a transition to this new structure be accomplished by
January 2009.

Several Council restructuring issues remained unresolved. The Board is
continuing its discussions and intends to address these issues at its next
meeting on 30 September.  There are five major issue areas yet to be
decided:  (1) the role of an independent third Nominating Committee
Appointee (NCA) that the Board has decided will serve on the Council; (2)
the process for electing Council leadership (Chair and Vice Chairs); (3) the
process for filling Board seats #13 and #14; (4) the voting thresholds for
various Council decisions as proposed by the WG-GCR; and (5) general
implementation issues. (It is important to keep in mind that the Board is
actively considering Council restructuring and additional ideas and issues
could emerge.)

*To assist Board members in their deliberations, Staff will be preparing an
analysis and recommendation for each of these remaining decision points.  I
would like to include additional community input in that process and invite
all GNSO constituencies, other ICANN structures, and the nominating
committee appointees to share their views as appropriate.  For each of the
four WG-GCR recommendations outlined below I am requesting each group to
submit a one-paragraph statement clarifying its perspective on that topic.
I also hope that each group will take the opportunity to highlight in one
paragraph what they believe to be the most significant implementation issues
that will need to be addressed (Issue 5). Note: your comments will not be
edited or summarized, but will be collated and submitted directly to Board
members for their consideration.  A copy of this submission will be posted
on the public GNSO email list.

Any group intending to contribute comments should submit them to me via
email to policy-staff@xxxxxxxxx by COB on 18 September (PDT). * That will
give Board members adequate time before their meeting to review your
submissions.  A copy of the Final Report of the WG-GCR is attached for your
reference.  The remaining issues also are summarized below, but please
reference the report directly for the precise WG-GCR language.

Issue 1 – Role of the Third NCA:

At it 28 August meeting the Board directed that each voting house include
one voting Nominating Committee appointee (NCA).  The Board also directed
that a third "independent" NCA continue to serve on the Council – a matter
on which the WG-GCR could not reach consensus. The Board has not yet
determined what the role, function or status of that third NCA will be on
the Council.  Ideas currently under discussion include: making this NCA
non-voting and not assigned to either house (recommended by Staff); making
the third NCA voting (unclear yet how this would fit into the bicameral
voting structure); including the third NCA as a voting member of the
non-contracted party house to maintain a 6:1 ratio of constituency
representatives to NCAs;

Issue 2 – Council Leadership; Election of GNSO Council Chair

The WG-GCR proposed that the GNSO Council Chair be elected by a 60% vote of
BOTH voting houses and that each house elect its own Vice Chair to serve in
that capacity.  A WG-GCR non-consensus compromise suggested that if that
process could elect no Chair, then a third Council-level Nominating
Committee Appointee should serve as a non-voting Chair.  The Board generally
discussed the leadership selection options at it 28 August meeting, but did
not reach a decision. Ideas currently under discussion include: adopting the
WG-GCR proposal (recommended by Staff); adopting the WG-GCR proposal as well
as the proposal to use the third NCA as a non-voting Chair if needed; and
have the Chair elected by a simple majority of the full Council with
weighted voting (12 votes each for the contracted and non-contracted party
houses, and single vote for each of the three NCAs).

Issue 3 - Election of Board Seats

The WG-GCR proposed that, at the end of the current terms for Board seats
#13 and #14, the contracted party voting house elect Seat 13 by a 60% vote
and that the user/non-contracted party voting house elect Seat 14 by a 60%
vote.  The WG-GCR agreed that the two seats cannot BOTH be held by
individuals who are employed by, serve as an agent of, or receive any
compensation from an ICANN-accredited registry or registrar, nor can they
both be held by individuals who are the appointed representatives to one of
the GNSO user stakeholder groups. Staff is exploring concerns that changes
in the Board election methodology for Seats 13 and 14 as proposed by the
WG-GCR would have the effect of creating Board members from each of the
voting houses, rather than Board members from the entire GNSO. (All Board
seats are to serve the interests of ICANN's public benefit mandate, not the
interests of individual groups; the SO level represents a view of an entire
sector of the ICANN community and there is concern that to more narrowly
define the parameters of selection within an SO is inconsistent with the
non-representational capacity of the members once they reach the board of

The Board did not have time to thoroughly address this matter at its 28
August session. Ideas currently under discussion include: adopting the
WG-GCR proposal; deferring this issue and dealing with it as part of the
Board Review (which is ongoing); adopting a Council-wide supermajority
selection criteria; adopting a method which uses a simple majority of the
full Council with weighted voting (12 votes each for the contracted and
non-contracted party houses, and single vote for each of the three NCAs).

Issue 4 – Voting Thresholds:

   1. "The WG-GCR reached consensus on the following collection of voting
   thresholds: "Create an Issues Report (currently 25% of vote of Council)–
   either greater than 25% vote of both houses or simple majority of one house

   2. Initiate a PDP within Scope of the GNSO per ICANN Bylaws and advice of
   ICANN GC (currently >33% of vote of Council) -- greater than 33% vote of
   both houses or greater than 66% vote of one house
   3. Initiate a PDP not within Scope of the GNSO per ICANN Bylaws and
   advice of ICANN GC (currently >66% of vote of Council) – greater than 75%
   vote of one house and a simple majority of the other
   4. Approval of a PDP without Super-Majority (currently >50% of vote of
   Council) -- Simple majority of both houses, but requires that at least one
   representative of at least 3 of the 4 stakeholder groups supports
   5. Super-Majority Approval of a PDP (currently >66% of vote of Council) –
   Greater than 75% majority in one house and simple majority in the other
   6. Removal of Nominating Committee Appointees for Cause subject to ICANN
   Board Approval (currently 75% of Council):  a) At least 75% of User/NCP
   House to remove Nominating Committee appointee on User/NCP House; b) At
   least 75% of Contracted Parties House to remove Nominating Committee
   appointee on Contracted Parties House; c) [At least 75% of both voting
   houses to remove the Council-level Nominating Committee appointee].
   7. All other GNSO Business (other than Board elections) – simple majority
   of both voting houses."

The Board did not have time at its 28 August meeting to discuss these voting
thresholds.  Staff has recommended adoption of all voting thresholds noted
in the WGGCR Report, except for Category F, the threshold for removal of an
NCA.  Staff has recommended that the Board consider this threshold further
as it continues its related work on the NomCom Review and improvement
efforts. Additional ideas under consideration include adding a voting
threshold for the approval of a charter for a PDP working group.

Issue 5 – Implementation

At its 28 August meeting, the Board directed the GNSO Council to work with
ICANN Staff on an implementation plan that creates a transition to a new
bicameral voting structure by the beginning of calendar year 2009. Board
discussion continues on how to ensure diversity in each stakeholder group,
whether specific Board recommendations are needed to support expansion and
inclusiveness for new actors, and whether the Board should encourage
fostering different representation.  Questions about whether additional
guidance or requirements are needed on the implementation plan, and
transition to the new structure by January 2009, also are being explored.
Comments about this time frame, the issues noted, or about particular areas
that might require special attention are most welcome.

Thank you for your continued involvement and input.


Denise Michel
ICANN VP, Policy

Attachment: 1 GNSO WG GCR Updated Report .doc
Description: MS-Word document

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