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RE: [council] Proposed Agenda Item - Elimination of Friday Public Board Meetings

I recall a conversation at the end of the Costa Rica meeting which implied that the Board's ability to move all decisions onto the consent agenda meant that there had been no need for that public meeting, and by using induction, there would be no need for any further meeting either. My recollection of the concept of induction is that you need more than one sample and that there needs to be a relationship linking the samples.

I somehow doubt that the lack of controversial subjects on that agenda means that there wwill never be another controversial subject up for a Board decision.

If you go back to recent meetings where there HAVE been issues of contention, how the meetings played out told us a fair amount about the thought processes of various Board members and what things they valued. Some the VERY few data points that we have to allow us to judge Board member performance.


At 03/05/2012 07:02 PM, Mason Cole wrote:

I agree with Stephane's comment regarding time and efficiency, but also with Thomas' comment regarding transparency. I'm all for doing what's reasonable to keep meetings manageable. However, the board selectively discloses information about its decisions as it is. I'd like to hear about why this improves transparency. If there's a credible reason, I'm likely to be okay with it.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx on behalf of Thomas Rickert
Sent: Thu 5/3/2012 9:27 AM
To: Stéphane Van Gelder
Cc: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [council] Proposed Agenda Item - Elimination of Friday Public Board Meetings

Stéphane, all,
holding meetings for the sake of having them and wasting everyone's valuable time should by all means avoided (I am sure most of you have seen the educational videos "Meetings, Bloody Meetings" with John Cleese, which I highly recommend :-)).

I also understand that it is a challenge to travel to three meetings per year that last for a week.

Thus, I fully support the idea of making meetings more effective.

- publishing the committee reports sounds reasonable.
- adding two sessions with community interaction sounds reasonable, too.

However, I am not convinced that the public Board meeting should be sacrificed to shorten the meeting by one day. Looking at the number of attendees, only those interested in the Board meetings participate on Friday. Participation is voluntary and those who want to spend less time at the meetings have the choice to leave.

Eliminating the public Board meeting to save time sounds patronizing to me. I do agree that it is at times a theatre and that the format could be improved. Nonetheless, even if it is a theatre, participants get the chance to learn how the group works and what the views of the board members are. I also think it makes a difference for board members to express their views publicly, so they might even be more diligent (I am not indicating board members are not diligent, but chaining the format may have that effect).

While I do believe that the Board made this change with the best intentions, I think it was wrong (at least for the Prague meeting to start) and inadequately implemented.

- There was no consultation (at least I have not seen any) on this subject matter to get community feedback whether or not the community wishes the board to save its time.

- In its announcement, ICANN does not offer any alternatives to keep transparency at the same level. This gives raise to the suspicion that there will be less transparency in the future.

- Timing for this change is unfortunate given the TAS interruption, the upcoming controversial batching process and the IANA bid. Taking the meetings out of the public arena may be perceived as not wishing to publicly discuss these (and certainly other) important matters.

Maybe meetings can actually be streamlined and end earlier, but in my view, this should not be done in a phase where ICANN is exposed to criticism as much as now.


Thomas Rickert, Attorney at Law

Managing Partner, Schollmeyer & Rickert Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Director Names & Numbers, eco Association of the German Internet Industry

Am 03.05.2012 um 15:16 schrieb Stéphane Van Gelder:

        Thanks Wolf and Wolfgang for your comments.

If there is more decision on this, could I urge others to chime in so that we can ascertain whether a full agenda item is needed on this, or whether the discussion can be had on the list.


                                        Stéphane Van Gelder
        Directeur Général / General manager
        INDOM Group NBT France
        Head of Domain Operations
        Group NBT

Le 3 mai 2012 à 11:38, <KnobenW@xxxxxxxxxx> <KnobenW@xxxxxxxxxx> a écrit :

               My personal view on this is mixed.

Saving of time and money is always preferable - but not at the expense of transparency when the board is taking decisions at public meetings. SO/AC/BC reporting could be removed by providing them in written form only.
               But it makes a difference
- to hold "a one-hour session following the Public Forum on Thursday afternoon..... and outline what they have heard during the week from their meetings with AC/SOs and their constituent parts and identify those matters they expect to be dealing with...", to decide upon during non-public board sessions and at the following ICANN Public Meeting to "report to the community on what they have dealt with since Prague"
               - to discuss and take decisions publicly

I'm curious to know whether this board decision was based on the survey ("Improving Global Engagement") ICANN started in March where they solicited community input on improving e.g. effectiveness. For me the Public Meetings - with all their facets - are per se the highlights of global engagement.

               Best regards


Von: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [<mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] Im Auftrag von Stéphane Van Gelder
                        Gesendet: Mittwoch, 2. Mai 2012 22:52
                        An: Margie Milam
                        Cc: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Council
Betreff: Re: [council] Proposed Agenda Item - Elimination of Friday Public Board Meetings

                        Thanks Margie, much appreciated.

In the meantime, let me add some more context for the benefit of the Council.

In CR, Steve asked me what I would think of the idea of shortening the ICANN meeting week by doing away with the Friday. This was floated to me as just an idea. I was given no indication that it would be implemented one day, let alone in Prague. And I was given no details on its possible implementation.

When Steve discussed this with me, I did not get the sense that he meant to do a public consultation on this decision. This was a private conversation and not one where it was at any time made clear to me that I should break Steve's confidence and discuss this publicly. That is why I did not discuss this here.

This week's announcement has, as Jeff says, generated some negative comments. Those that I have seen are that this decision was taken without any consultation and that doing away with the Friday Board meeting is detrimental to transparency.

My own personal view is otherwise. I believe that cutting the Friday out of the ICANN week is a step in the right direction towards reducing costs and time challenges for meeting participants, including the Board. Over the past year, I have seen the Board work hard to improve its transparency. We now have detailed rationale on votes at every meeting and explanations of the issues being considered. So I am comfortable with giving the Board a little of the benefit of the doubt in trying out new ideas such as this one.


                        Le 2 mai 2012 à 22:10, Margie Milam a écrit :

                                                               Hi Stéphane,
I'll follow up internally to provide the requested information.
                                                               Best regards,

From: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [<mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>mailto:owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Stéphane Van Gelder
                               Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 2:08 PM
                               To: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Council
Subject: Re: [council] Proposed Agenda Item - Elimination of Friday Public Board Meetings Is someone from Staff able to provide the requested information, whether it be on the list or during the next Council meeting?

Le 2 mai 2012 à 20:38, Neuman, Jeff a écrit :


Given the announcement yesterday of the elimination of the public Board meetings at ICANN, I would like to put this on the Council agenda as a discussion item. I would like it if someone from ICANN that is familiar with the rationale behind this decision could give us an explanation of how and why that decision was made.

Also, if the ICANN Board can unilaterally declare that all of its meetings will be private, does this set a precedent for its Supporting Organizations to do the same thing? I have not reviewed the bylaws with respect to the Council in a little bit, but does the Council have the discretion to declare that it will no longer hold a public GNSO Council meeting at ICANN?

I think there has been enough disapproval expressed within the community in the last day or so that at least merits a discussion of this decision at the Council level.


                               Jeffrey J. Neuman
Neustar, Inc. / Vice President, Business Affairs
                               21575 Ridgetop Circle, Sterling, VA 20166
Office: +1.571.434.5772 Mobile: +1.202.549.5079 Fax: +1.703.738.7965 / jeff.neuman@xxxxxxxxxxx <<mailto:jeff.neuman@xxxxxxxxxxx>mailto:jeff.neuman@xxxxxxxxxxx> / www.neustar.biz <<http://www.neustar.biz/>http://www.neustar.biz/>

Thomas Rickert, Rechtsanwalt
Schollmeyer &  Rickert Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft m.b.H. (i.e. law firm)
Geschäftsführer / CEO: Torsten Schollmeyer, Thomas Rickert
HRB 9262, AG Bonn

Büro / Office Bonn:
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