[atrt2] Question about the role of AOC Review Teams within ICANN

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Wed Apr 24 14:32:04 UTC 2013


I hope this is on topic, and wanted to bring it up head-on because I am not sure that all have a similar understanding.

When I first read about the AOC I understood it to be a 'soft' oversight mechanism that was replacing, at least in part, the previous oversight mechanisms as had been part of the MOU and more directly of the previous contract with ICANN.  Of course direct oversight still exists of the IANA functions and of the Verisign operations on the root.  I found this new form of bottom-up multistakeholder oversight quite an exciting possibility and put a lot of faith in its potential.

While I understand that the full nature and practice of the new ICANN oversight mechanism is still unfolding and in some sense experimental as one of the first bottom up multistakeholder oversight mechanisms of its kind, I beleive the review teams are supposed to act as oversight to ICANN: Board, Paid Staff (including CEO and Senior Executives),  and Volunteer organizations.  Due to reputed California legal constraints regarding corporate fiduciary responsibilities of Board of Directors, it is only soft oversight in that its recommendations, especially with regard to financial fiduciary maters, are not legally binding despite the fact that they are normative recommendations.

As I interact with many in the community, including some senior staff members, I gather that my understanding does not match their understanding.  So I am wondering: do I have it wrong?

Do we in ATRT2 have the responsibility to see ourselves as part of an ongoing bottom-up multistakeholder oversight within the organization.  Can we look at the recommendations of the previous review teams as oversight mandates that must be respected and implemented.  Or does a prevailing impression I get from many on senior staff and some on the Board that these are recommendation that like the recommendations of Advisory Committees: only advisory and ignorable.

I think getting this straight within this group and between ATRT2 and the Governing structure of the organization is critical to the judgements we need to make during the course of our work.   I beleive we, the collective members of the various review groups, are responsible for overseeing the organization we care about so much.  I do not have the impression that the powers that be in ICANN see it that way.

What do others think?  
Do I have it completely wrong?  
Are we just another advisory committee?


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