[council] Conflicts of Interest

Marilyn Cade marilynscade at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 22 18:46:16 UTC 2006

Thanks, Ross, I better understand your suggestion and it seems to be
feasible to implement this approach in the short run, and take longer steps
over time. I should have read this before posting my last email which was
sort of urging similar caution for a big initiative. However, I fully agree
with a posting of statements of interests.

Still, I would like us to have a work plan toward how and when we might
develop a process -- fitting it into the StratPlan work program, perhaps.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org] On
Behalf Of Ross Rader
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 1:22 PM
To: council at gnso.icann.org
Subject: Re: [council] Conflicts of Interest

First, let me remind everyone of a fact that I pointed out at our 
council meeting in Vancouver - that the membership of this council, by 
and large, consists of representatives of special interest groups.


I don't believe this has substantially changed over the last few weeks. ;-)

However, you should note that I have continuously used the term 
"statement of interest" and not "conflict of interest". The former is 
simple an enumeration of those interests which may affect my judgment as 
it relates to particular issues. The second is a situation in which a 
trusted individual's private interests unduly benefit from their public 
actions - essentially a betrayal of the public trust.

It only takes a very quick evaluation of our respective interests to 
come to the conclusion that we could each quite often be in a position 
of conflict of interest. This is one of the primary reasons why this 
organization does not make policy, it makes recommendations. Our work is 
checked by a superior body - one that is intended to be free of these 
same conflicts because we cannot be. This is why it is imperative that 
we make our interests in specific issues known and continue to do so 
over time as these interests change. For instance, two years ago, Tucows 
had no interests in the secondary names market - today, our interest is 
substantial. This dramatically changes the position my company takes on 
related issues. It changes our advocacy at a constituency level and it 
influences our work within the GNSO.

In this forum, that of the GNSO Council, I represent the interests of 
accredited registrars. Registrars have a vital interest in each and 
every issue before the GNSO. Under a standard conflict of interest 
management policy, I would likely need to recuse myself on most issues - 
as would most of you. As you can see, this quickly becomes an untenable 

Second, I believe my proposal has been misinterpreted. I would like to 
see Bruce's recommendation for us each to file statements of interests 
as mandatory for all councilors. I believe we owe it to each other, the 
GNSO and the general community to disclose what our special interests 
are. However, because of these special interests, I do not believe that 
adopting a process of recusal, et al will be useful. To this end, I 
proposed that we adopt Bruce's proposal as mandatory and build upon it 
over time as our experience with these types of guidelines grows.

Implementing true standards of objectivity go against the structure of 
the GNSO. While I believe it is incumbent on Councilors to conduct 
ourselves in a manner that is consistent with ICANN's goals, mission and 
mandate - i.e. with regards to the "big picture" - it is impossible for 
us to do so without regard for the interests of our respective 
constituency members.

Of course, these comments pertain only to those that represent 
constituencies, but I don't think that we can expect our appointed 
members and liaisons to conduct themselves in any way different from 
those that are elected from within the GNSO.

We have much work before us, so lets take a small step forward, adopt 
Bruce's proposal as mandatory and keep an eye on its effectiveness while 
we attend to the more important work items before us.


ICANNSoph wrote:
> Bruce,
> I also want to share my experience in working in the development and
> implementation of conflict-of-interest (COI) issues within my career in
> Audit and recently, within the framework of Sarbane-Oxley legislation in
> various orgs, which should be useful for us.  I would like to volunteer
> along with Maureen in contributing on the proposed task force for the
> of COI.
> Basically, COI exist when professional judgement concerning one interest
> tend to be unduly influenced by another interest, be it within individuals
> or institutions.  Despite anyone's profit or gain, the appearance of COI
> we say in Audit) is as destructive of confidence as actual gain or profit.
> In our case, while not a regulatory mandate, it would be an institutional
> statement of ethical standards based upon the act of total objectivity
> regards to ICCAN's interest.
> Regards,
> Sophia
> On 21/01/06, Maureen Cubberley <m.cubberley at sympatico.ca> wrote:
>> During my CIRA Chair days, we developed a conflict of interest policy,
>> with the assistance of one of the country's leading legal firms. Ross,
>> CIRA be willing to share its policy with the Council?
>> Maureen
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Marilyn Cade <marilynscade at hotmail.com>
>> *To:* 'Cubberley, Maureen (CHT)' <MCubberley at gov.mb.ca> ;
ross at tucows.com; 'Bruce
>> Tonkin' <Bruce.Tonkin at melbourneit.com.au>
>> *Cc:* council at gnso.icann.org
>>  *Sent:* Friday, January 20, 2006 3:38 PM
>> *Subject:* RE: [council] Conflicts of Interest
>> I'm also interested in supporting the development of an effective
>> Statement, and a discussion of what creates a conflict that requires a
>> recusement, versus a disclosure. Also, we should examine how we implement
>> such a program.
>> Grant has shared with the BC the way that InternetNZ addresses, and
>> perhaps
>> there are other useful models also about to quickly get a sense of.
>> Marilyn
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto: owner-council at gnso.icann.org]
>> On
>> Behalf Of Cubberley, Maureen (CHT)
>> Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006 11:04 AM
>> To: ross at tucows.com; Bruce Tonkin
>> Cc: council at gnso.icann.org
>> Subject: RE: [council] Conflicts of Interest
>> Bruce and Ross,
>> Thanks Bruce for bringing this proposal forward.  I too think this is an
>> excellent idea, and Ross, I agree with your further analysis. In
>> particular, I agree that the GNSO council should move ahead with a
>> conflict of interest policy, and an appropriate process to accompany it.
>> As you know, this is an issue that I brought up at the meeting in
>> Vancouver, at which time I cited the Board conflict of interest policy
>> and asked for clarification as to whether or not it applied to the
>> Council.
>> Now that we have our clarification, we should move ahead.
>> I like your" light weight" approach and also the concept of a design
>> committee.
>> I support the idea of adding this to the next agenda, so Bruce, if that
>> is acceptable and if the Council as a whole agrees to proceed, I would
>> be pleased to volunteer to work with fellow Councillors on the proposed
>> "design committee" or with whatever development approach is decided
>> upon.
>> Best regards,
>> Maureen
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org]
>> On Behalf Of Ross Rader
>> Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006 8:57 AM
>> To: Bruce Tonkin
>> Cc: council at gnso.icann.org
>> Subject: Re: [council] Conflicts of Interest
>> Bruce Tonkin wrote:
>>> I see this being a voluntary initiative as there doesn't seem to be
>> any
>>> explicit bylaw requirements.
>> Bruce -
>> I think this is an excellent proposal. As you know, the registrar
>> constituency has had similar practices embodied in its bylaws for a
>> number of years.
>> However, simply because the bylaws is silent on a specific set of
>> behaviors, doesn't mean that we can't officially adopt these behaviors
>> through other means.
>> I also believe that it is time for the Council of the GNSO to adopt some
>> explicit conflict of interest management processes - but I believe they
>> should be mandatory. At first, we should proceed cautiously with these.
>> A light-weight approach would seem to be most prudent. Over time, we
>> could improve and expand upon the approach in ways that make it more
>> useful for our purposes.
>> My preference would not be to create a "design committee" to come up
>> with a comprehensive proposal at this time. As a first step, I think
>> your proposal makes eminent sense, and I would like to discuss whether
>> or not the rest of the council would be willing to undertake a vote to
>> make these requirements mandatory. Is this something that we could add
>> to the agenda of our next meeting?
>> Thanks in advance for your consideration.
>> -ross
> --
> Sophia Bekele
> Voice/Fax: 925-935-1598
> Mob:925-818-0948
> sophiabekele at gmail.com
> SKYPE: skypesoph
> www.cbsintl.com

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