[bc-gnso] Advising the BC list that I have contacted the ICANN Ombudsman and request to suspect the present and any future election processes within the BC

Marilyn Cade marilynscade at hotmail.com
Sat Sep 5 04:57:13 UTC 2009

Dear BC fellow members
it is with regret that I write to you to announce that I am filing an ombudsman complaint regarding how the BC is conducting election processes, including the present election process.I am asking that the Ombudsman and General Counsel move to suspend the current election; determine that the eligibility for the second seat is limited to representatives of large businesses, and that ICANN staff take over and conduct this election, and election processes for all other elections for the time being. 
Why am I doing this: 
The concerns that I have raised publicly have been ignored and disregarded. 
Other BC members have raised concerns, and these have been ignored by the officers.It is unclear that the secretariat is actually able to be fully independent, since there seems to be situations where the officers are interpreting their options, which are contrary to the postings of those members actively engaged.  The posting of the secretariat indicates that he is taking direction in an election from the officers, yet at least one of the officers has a conflict of interest in having nominated one of the candidates. there is no indication that that officer is fully recused from all discussions and interactions in the eligibility discussions. 
There is a nomination process underway that does not make it clear that only large companies or associations that are representative of large businesses are eligible The original announcement of the two seats made it clear that these are distinct seats, with different criteria and purposes.  The most recent announcement by the Secretariat, after apparent consultation with the officers has published a different approach for this seat that does not make the requirement that the candidate be from large business clear. Of concern to me is that an officer, who nominated a candidate to the small seat specifically, and then interacted with said candidate to encourage them to stand instead for the large business seat is now interjecting themselves into the online discussion and expressing 'guidance' about how the BC members should interpret eligibility.  

Elections have to be neutral, conducted with equality, and fairness. One candidate for the SME seat was not a BC member, and strangely, the secretariat didn't post the candidate statements of the two competing candidates to that candidate. That would have been an neutral and professional courtesy. 
Criteria have to be fair, and neutrally applied. 
Officers should not be involved in any way in elections.
Since we also have upcoming elections for councilors, the present officers/councilors are in a position to influence the entire process. 
Even accidently.
I am asking the ombudsman to intervene in the present election regarding the NC position for the second seat/large business representative and to also then recommend that ICANN staff take over and conduct all elections for positions until the finalization of the charter, election of officers, etc.
I am truly disappointed about taking this step. I have posted my concerns to the BC. However, it is clear that a neutral and external resource is needed to address the short term and longer term election oversight until clarification is undertaken that can be fully supported by all BC members.
I posted an ombudsman complaint today, and am copying the Ombudsman and the General Council of ICANN as I advise the full BC that I am taking this step. Because I am asking to suspend the current election process, and move this and future election processes to ICANN, I felt it necessary to advise the General Counsel of that aspect of my request to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is fully independent, and I respect that. 
However, we are not merely talking about internal BC processes, but a process that has implications for BC participation in the Nominating Committee and indeed, in the GNSO Council.  Resolving these concerns in a timely manner is essential to enable all future elections to move forward with transparency, fairness, openness and accountability.
No one has asked me to do this. I have not discussed my filing with the ombudsman with any candidate.  I am confident that with the complete disclosure of what has in fact transpired; what the past practices are, and with good will, that a path forward can be found for the NC decision, and with the development of more detailed and fully tranparent and documented processes for criteria, nomination, candidate campaign opportunities, and ensuring no interaction with candidates during election cycles, other than by a neutral entity for administrative purposes, we can improve the election process. As to the election of new officers, or councilors, which is next, this clearly should not be overseen by existing officers, or existing potentially competing candidates.  
As a member in good standing, I do not expect this to affect my membership, my ability to post, nor my ability to fully  interact with full respect and regard, with all other members and with the elected officers and secretariat. I am aware from the draft charter, which I have raised many questions about, would allow a discretionary rejection of a member for raising the kinds of issues I am raising, or for 'duplicate' or long posts.  The proposals in that draft charter would stifle debate, limit disagreement, and lead to subjective decisions about when a member is expelled. 

That is not in the spirit of ICANN, nor in the spirit of the constituency which I helped to found -- now years ago. There has to be room for disagreement, and room for agreement. But there has to be intregrity of process, and all processes that lead to identification/nomination of candidates, and then elections have to have a very high degree of trustworthness.  I am confident that we can regain that.
This is not a request for support for my view. It is merely my notifying you, as fellow BC members, of my concern, and what I have done -- filed an Ombudsman complaint, and why. I have asked to suspend the election process. Thus, I believed I should tell you, as a believer in being accountable for one's actions, that I have done that, and why. I understand some will agree with me; some will strongly disagree. 
This is my personal, and deeply held view:  The BC MUST be an exemplary organization. We are business users. Intregrity both in action, and in perception must be our baseline. 
Misunderstandings happen. People make decisions for the best of intentions that can still be wrong. and I could be wrong in my understanding of the situation.  Thankfully, the Ombudsman is there to sort this out.  

Marilyn Cade 

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