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

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Thu Apr 25 03:43:35 UTC 2013


Thanks Steve for your clarifications.  

I think however, that delineating such a line between advice and oversight  is an essential ingredient in our evaluation of the ICANN Staff and Board responses to the work done by previous AOC Review Teams.  I acknowledge that it may be a difficult delineation, but it should be possible to understand the essential difference between advice and oversight.  And it should be possible to understand whether the role of the AOC Review Teams is oversight or advice and whether it has been accepted as oversight or advice.

I personally beleive that relegating it as advice that can be rejected, albeit only after due consideration, may damage the essential compact of the AOC.  I think understanding this is essential in our efforts here and in our representation before the CSTD Enhanced Cooperation WG starting at the end of May.  It makes a difference whether those who have ICANN connection in that body's consultations, myself among them, can state that there is a revolutionary bottom-up multistakeholder oversight mechanism working within ICANN or whether we must acknowledge that the AOC is yet another ICANN advice mechanism. I tend to beleive the AOC presents a radically new mechanism, and that it is not the definition of yet another advice mechanism. 

I think understanding this is a critical component to this 2nd ATRT.  The cycle has run once.  I see our job as more involved than evaluating specific nuances of particular remedial actions.  I see it as a responsibility for an evaluation of the AOC mechanisms asking the question of whether the implementation of the AOC as evidenced in the first round of the AOC review Teams meets the criteria agreed to in the AOC?



On 24 Apr 2013, at 22:08, Steve Crocker wrote:

> 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.
> Steve
> 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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