[CCWG-ACCT] Staff accountability

Seun Ojedeji seun.ojedeji at gmail.com
Fri Jul 17 04:17:38 UTC 2015


I don't think getting a set of people from the community involved would
ultimately mean transparency in practice.

I think reviewing the IRP processes in a manner that ensures it's
activities are publicly logged(to the extent that they are legitimate) and
available for follow-up by any member of the community may help.

Each SO/AC could then decide to constitute their own committees that will
follow such subject matter. Like within ALAC we currently have the
iana-issue WG that's follows the IANA transition activities.

Unfortunately, up until now .Africa issues (all the delays) was not seen as
a global interest. The community orientations may also need to change if we
really like to see transparency in action.

Sent from Google nexus 4
kindly excuse brevity and typos.
On 16 Jul 2015 11:41 pm, "Kieren McCarthy" <kieren at kierenmccarthy.com>

> So, follow my logic here:
> * Who is ICANN corporate ultimately accountable to (according to
> everyone)? The ICANN/internet community
> * What is the main stated goal of this accountability working group? To
> empower the community to increase the accountability around ICANN and its
> actions
> * What is the big sticking point on most issues? The creation of a new
> group or a structural change.
> Let's take the recent .Africa IRP as a good example of accountability.
> Because it is.
> Here's what happened - simple facts:
> * The ICANN Board did not do its job sufficiently well. It did not ask the
> GAC for an actual rationale. And DCA went through all ICANN's
> accountability mechanisms - twice with subsets of the Board failing to act
> "neutrally or fairly" - and was rejected each time, until there was an
> independent group that looked at the issue. The Board failed.
> * The staff failed. Not accounting for the fact that it repeatedly argued
> that the IRP did not have the right to do what it did, the staff did not
> act neutrally and fairly. By their own admission, they intervened in favor
> of one party. And then they redacted that information from the final
> report, not even telling the Board that they had done so. The staff failed.
> Now, who exactly are these two groups now accountable to? Who is able to
> get to the bottom of this, find out what went wrong and make sure lessons
> are learned?
> The answer, of course, is no one. Themselves. And from the responses that
> both staff and Board have come out with today, they both clearly feel that
> they have done no wrong either. There is not even the suggestion that they
> hold a post-mortem or similar review.
> We are not going to see the details of what happened. And it is in the
> clear interests of the two groups who were found lacking in fairness not to
> disclose that information (the staff has already demonstrated its
> willingness to delete information it doesn't want people to see).
> And so we have the final accountability process deciding unanimously on
> something and nothing will change as a result of it.
> Why? Because there is no mechanism right now for the community to do what
> it is supposed to do and hold the ICANN Board and staff accountable.
> What's the solution?
> I would argue it is the ability for the existing community to hold
> hearings in which they are able to compel information and witness
> testimony.
> This requires no new structures - the groups and people already exist. It
> is built around empowering the community. It does not give the community
> any new powers beyond which ICANN already claims to offer (openness,
> transparency). And it provides for real accountability: asking questions
> and getting answers. It also costs far, far less.
> I would also argue that a community group, rather than a new individual,
> such as an inspector general, is the right way forward.
> If you create another new role with one individual in, you basically
> recreate the ombudsman role all over again. It adds costs. It means one
> individual is forced into an impossible position (because, let's be honest,
> we're not talking about an inspector general *with staff*).
> And it opens the door to the exact same issues that have introduced
> fundamental flaws to all the other accountability mechanisms: ICANN's
> lawyers write the rules (and change them when they don't like them), the
> person is reliant on ICANN money; ICANN's staff will overload the
> individual with process and confidentiality claims.
> But if you take the community - the people that follow this stuff every
> day - and you empower them to ask questions and compel the provision of
> information and witnesses. Well, then you have real accountability. And
> accountability that makes ICANN itself stronger.
> And before people slip into the habit of imagining the worst possible
> assumption and using that strawman to knock down the idea:
> * Such a community panel would not have the right to fire people (why
> would it?). But it could certainly do things like say "we would encourage
> you to consider your position" if it found someone particularly inept
> * Such a community panel would not involve itself in internal things like
> bullying or harassment or benefit. Again, why would it?
> * Such a community panel would simply reflect systems of accountability
> that exist all over the world when you are talking about a public good. It
> is a select committee (UK) or a Congressional hearing (US). It is the
> ability to provide review where it is needed; accountability in a way that
> actually provides accountability, as opposed to the current approach of
> long processes, huge bills and ignored outcomes.
> Put another way: why doesn't the community already have such a review
> power?
> I would argue strongly that this approach would be easy to introduce - a
> few bylaws at most - be easy to argue in favor of, would fulfill the NTIA's
> suggestions to a tee, make sense to the wider world, strengthen ICANN
> overall, and come with very few downsides.
> I hope you will seriously consider this approach at your meetings in Paris
> over the next few days.
> Kieren
> On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 11:00 PM, Dr Eberhard W Lisse <epilisse at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Kieren,
>> I call and have called this a need for structural reform. Which does not
>> mean we have to go into individual cases (constructive dismissals) but need
>> to make sure this does not happen.
>> With regards to the security breaches, I did invite ICANN staff to
>> present, from a purely technical perspective, about the incident before the
>> previous Singapore meeting, in front of a very friendly audience at TechDay
>> and they just declined, without giving any reasons.
>> I really would like to read the unredacted version myself, bu the way.
>> Not necessarily getting an electronic copy, but that would be best.
>> el
>> --
>> Sent from Dr Lisse's iPhone 5s
>> On Jul 16, 2015, at 03:45, Kieren McCarthy <kieren at kierenmccarthy.com>
>> wrote:
>> So it may be a US-UK disconnect but when I hear "personnel issues" I hear
>> things like: sexual harassment or bullying or internal argument or benefits.
>> I wouldn't advocate for the community reviewing any of those topics, nor
>> do I think would anyone else. And I certainly wouldn't see a community-led
>> process deciding it would review them either.
>> If by "personnel issues" you mean holding staff to account for the jobs
>> that they get paid they to do on behalf of the community, then we do not
>> agree. I think they absolutely should be held to account and be required
>> when the community feels it necessary to answer questions about how they
>> carried their job out.
>> To extend my Congressional analogy, recent hearing/inquiries that stick
>> in my mind include:
>> * The oversight hearing on the OPM data breach
>> * The hearings on the secret service actions on the White House intruder
>> These sorts of things.
>> I can see for example it being very useful for ICANN staff to be quizzed
>> publicly by the community on what happened with the recent security
>> breaches.
>> That strikes me as a much better system that the internet community
>> relying on whatever ICANN staff decides to tell us through an announcement
>> on a website.
>> There are of course also Senate Investigations - in fact I think ICANN's
>> top PR man used to be on a staffer on Senate inquiries - although I would
>> imagine this kind of thing would be rare in the ICANN world.
>> But this to me represents accountability: people being held accountable.
>> Being required to answer questions on particular topics.
>> Perhaps a better question would be to ask: why should the community *not*
>> have the ability to hold people accountable for the actions taken in their
>> name?
>> Kieren
>> On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 3:21 PM, James M. Bladel <jbladel at godaddy.com>
>> wrote:
>>>  I am also reviewing the unredacted report, and share the concerns of
>>> many expressed here. That said, I also do not want to go down a path where
>>> the Community inserts itself in to the Staff chain of authority, or starts
>>> to micro-manage personnel issues.
>>>  There are other ways to implement Staff Accountability, and I hope we
>>> can have a comprehensive discussion of these in Paris.
>>>  Safe travels to all who are en route. See you there.
>>> Thank you,
>>>  J.
>>> ____________
>>> James Bladel
>>> GoDaddy
>> [...]
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