[CCWG-ACCT] Budgetary veto/control solves the wrong problem and avoids solving the right one

Erika Mann erika at erikamann.com
Mon Jul 27 18:52:50 UTC 2015

Jordan, CCWG-team - I mentioned in Paris that I would want ICANN's auditors
to check whether they would expect any particular difficulties with a
budget veto. We reached out to them and are waiting for their answers. I
will keep you all informed about their feedback.

Thanks for the extraordinary work you all are doing!

On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 8:46 PM, Jordan Carter <jordan at internetnz.net.nz>

> I'd go further in thanking you, George, for a nice write up of what WS2
> needs to solve in these respects.
> But given the community's feedback on the WS1 proposal, dropping this
> power now isn't going to work.
> It is also worth me gently pointing out that we have to finalise our draft
> proposal in the next 36 hours or so. Going back to basics isn't viable.
> best
> Jordan
> On 28 July 2015 at 05:15, Jonathan Zuck <JZuck at actonline.org> wrote:
>>   And fundamentally, this is an empowerment issue, not meant to be a
>> practical tool for budget or strategic plan development. A big part of WS2
>> is improving the process by which the budget and strategic plan are
>> developed in the first place. WS1 is about empowering the community.
>>   From: <accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org> on behalf of
>> Kieren McCarthy
>> Date: Monday, July 27, 2015 at 1:00 PM
>> To: Dr Eberhard W Lisse, CCWG Accountability
>> Cc: "directors at omadhina.net"
>> Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] Budgetary veto/control solves the wrong problem
>> and avoids solving the right one
>>  What I think you're missing with your analysis, George, is the fact
>> that the community knows it has a window to put things in place so more
>> granular changes can be made later.
>> The veto is the backstop to make those future changes happen. Without it,
>> no one believes ICANN will actually make the required changes. After all,
>> people have been asking for a decade now and only very slight improvements
>> have emerged as a result.
>> The veto is there to make sure ICANN can't weasel out of change once it
>> has IANA.
>> It is also a test of good faith on the Board's part. Is the Board
>> actually willing to be held accountable or will it try to argue its way out
>> of giving the community any real additional powers?
>> Kieren
>>  On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 8:41 AM Dr Eberhard W Lisse <el at lisse.na> wrote:
>>> George,
>>> though I agree about right vs quick, if it only were so that we
>>> fundamentally redesigned ICANN.
>>> Which it needs.
>>> el
>>> --
>>> Sent from Dr Lisse's iPad mini
>>> > On Jul 27, 2015, at 16:30, George Sadowsky <george.sadowsky at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> >
>>> > All,
>>> >
>>> > These are my personal opinions.
>>> >
>>> > I suspect that the reaction to this post will be, "we are way past
>>> this, we've discussed this, and now just help us work on the implementation
>>> details."  If so, I think that's a mistake, because what I'd like to do is
>>> question one of the fundamental assumptions behind what this group is doing.
>>> >
>>> > When this process started, there was general agreement that it was
>>> more important to do this right than to do it quickly  Unfortunately, this
>>> feeling appears to have reversed, with the current sense that it is more
>>> important to get it done quickly in the name of the transition than to
>>> spend the time needed to do it right.  This process is going beyond
>>> accountability to a fundamental redesign of ICANN, with IMO inadequate
>>> concern for assuring inclusivity of support as well as lack of concern for
>>> unanticipated consequences.
>>> >
>>> > So here's what I'd like to contribute ...
>>> >
>>> > I've been uncomfortable with the notion of budgetary control/veto
>>> since the idea was first presented.  I think that I now know why: in my
>>> opinion it solves the wrong problem, and it is the wrong solution to the
>>> right problem.  Let me explain.
>>> >
>>> > In general, budgetary control is exercised by groups who want to
>>> control an aggregate budget, whether for reasons of limiting growth or
>>> ensuring that aggregate expenses for a budget do not exceed some measure of
>>> income.  I don't think that's the case here, although I suppose that under
>>> exceptional circumstances it might be.
>>> >
>>> > The alternative is that the control the group appears to want must be
>>> by program or even by line item, even though you're planning to use a very
>>> blunt instrument  --  control over approval of the aggregate budget  --  as
>>> your tool to accomplish this.  If that's the case, then what you really
>>> want is programatic control, not budgetary control.  If the program is
>>> accepted, then subject to resource constraints, it's up to the staff to
>>> deliver, and any specific line item or similar objection, however
>>> expressed, interferes with the execution of the activity.
>>> >
>>> > If the disagreement is with the program, with the objectives to be
>>> accomplished, and how the objectives are to be accomplished, then that is
>>> where the control should be exercised.  Any budgetary control after that is
>>> micromanagement.  The response to that is if you don't trust the
>>> organization to implement a rather well defined activity, then change the
>>> management/staff, don't restrict their resources and let them continue
>>> anyway.
>>> >
>>> > I suggest pursuing this line of argument further.  In my opinion, our
>>> fundamental problem has two components: (1) a persistent inadequate level
>>> of trust between groups within the ICANN community, and (2) our
>>> inability/unwillingness to create and use structures to deal directly with
>>> this situation and improve it.   I see the mechanism as starting with a
>>> lack of trust   --  in Board, management, staff, as well as the ACs and the
>>> SOs and their constituent parts  -- that generates not only suspicion
>>> regarding motives, non-transparent actions, and actions that are not
>>> equally favorable to all groups involved, but also the sense that the
>>> process is not serving "me" (whoever I am) well and is therefore out of
>>> control.
>>> >
>>> > In other words, IMO we have a fundamental problem of trust, and we
>>> don't have an effective way to talk about it or to otherwise address it,
>>> much less solve it.
>>> >
>>> > The budget rejection process that is being defined by the group is IMO
>>> based more upon defining ultimate ("nuclear" if you like) confrontation
>>> mechanisms than upon finding cooperative mechanisms to identify and resolve
>>> potential conflicts at an earlier stage.  It does not address the trust
>>> issue, and to the extent that my hypothesis is correct, if not addressed
>>> the trust issue will continue to bedevil ICANN activities, in other
>>> probably equally destructive ways.   Should not this group be equally or
>>> more concerned about mechanisms to identify issues and encourage
>>> cooperative-based and trust building processes to solve problems as they
>>> arise?   It does not appear so to me.
>>> >
>>> > In summary, the current approach, gaining more control over budget
>>> approval, is based upon a model of checks and balances, and that may be
>>> legitimate to some extent.  However, I sense that is not the way in which
>>> it is planned to be employed.  If so, it solves the wrong problem, nad it
>>> does not address the real problem.   We need a different approach, one of
>>> getting to the root of disagreements, real and perceived, that is early and
>>> based upon increased cooperation and trust, and we need a way to
>>> communicate that encourages this to happen.  This is not an easy problem to
>>> solve, but IMO it's the real problem that we have to solve, rather than
>>> some well meaning but inaccurate proxy representation of it.
>>> >
>>> > Please consider these thoughts in your discussions.
>>> >
>>> > George
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
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> --
> Jordan Carter
> Chief Executive
> *InternetNZ*
> +64-495-2118 (office) | +64-21-442-649 (mob)
> Email: jordan at internetnz.net.nz
> Skype: jordancarter
> *A better world through a better Internet *
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