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

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Thu Apr 25 03:46:32 UTC 2013

Thanks Steve. Perhaps we can agree that your Board does not have 
quite the same perspective of this as some previous Boards did.


At 24/04/2013 10:59 PM, Steve Crocker wrote:
>Alan, Avri, et al,
>At some point I will try to write a longer paper with my view about 
>the role of advice to ICANN covering all of the different sources of 
>advice, i.e. AoC reviews, Advisory Committees, various ad hoc expert 
>committees, etc.
>In brief, there are two key points.
>First, we always take advice seriously.  We recognize that each 
>group takes its role seriously, brings a lot of expertise to the 
>process, and works very hard.  Under no circumstances do we *ignore* 
>advice.  Per the next point, however, we do go through a decision 
>process related to *all* advice.  Regarding the source of the 
>advice, yes, there is a somewhat stronger onus and considerably more 
>process involved regarding advice from the GAC, and I would say that 
>advice from the AoC review teams is given essentially the same 
>weight.  In general, our preference is to accept advice, but the 
>decision whether to accept the advice is necessarily up to the 
>Board.  (Another absolutely important source of "advice" are the 
>policies recommended by the SOs.)
>Second, the Board has to go through a diligence process whenever we 
>receive advice.  For me, there are three questions we have to 
>answer.   Sometime the process is implicit and immediate; in other 
>cases the process is more explicit.
>1. Is the advice clear enough to understand what's being recommended?
>2. What resources will be required and who will be responsible for 
>implementation if we accept the advice?
>3. Last, and certainly not least, is the advice relevant and appropriate?
>There is obviously a lot of judgment in each of these questions, and 
>there aren't any hard and fast rules.  No advisory body has absolute 
>authority, and, at the same time, the Board has a very strong 
>obligation to document and explain its decisions.
>In the case of the recommendations from the Whois Review Team, we 
>tried to accept the advice but felt some modifications were required 
>in light of the three questions above.
>On Apr 25, 2013, at 5:56 AM, Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca> 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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> >> atrt2 at icann.org
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> >
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