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

Steve Crocker steve at shinkuro.com
Thu Apr 25 03:08:09 UTC 2013

As you will see from the note I just sent, I guess I line up with David and Alan.  But I think attempting to draw a bright line between "review" and "oversight" creates additional problems.  The system won't work if we spend all of our time adjudicating roles and authority.


On Apr 25, 2013, at 6:58 AM, Avri Doria <avri at acm.org> wrote:

> Hi,
> Do I understand correctly that you and David beleive that the AOC review teams collectively are not an oversight mechanism but rather an advisory function?  
> For my part, I beleive that is consistent with the reaction of ICANN Staff and the Board, but that it is not consistent with the mandate.  I have only just started reading the Froomkin chapter, but I am sure it will educate me as his work always does.  So I will get back to this conversation once I finished reading.  I just wanted to make sure I was understanding you correctly.
> avri
> On 24 Apr 2013, at 20:56, Alan Greenberg wrote:
>> My answers are generally in line with David's. RTs issue 
>> "recommendations" and the AoC requires the Board to "take action". 
>> Within that scope, I believe there is wriggle room for the Board to 
>> choose not to implement the intent or the letter of a recommendation, 
>> but to do so should, at the very least, require a strong reason for 
>> taking that decision.
>> You make reference to RT recommendations being akin to those of 
>> Advisory Committees. As you well know, there are several flavours of 
>> ACs and they both currently and historically have been treated VERY 
>> differently. I would like to think that the GAC model is closer to 
>> what we should expect, than anything else. Our recommendations should 
>> be honoured and if that is not to be, there should be both 
>> explanation AND good-faith interaction both understand the issue (on 
>> both sides) and see if there is any common ground that could be reached.
>> Alan
>> At 24/04/2013 10:32 AM, Avri Doria wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> 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?
>>> avri
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