[council] Council work

Gomes, Chuck cgomes at verisign.com
Thu Jan 3 15:28:17 UTC 2008

Thanks for the observations Philip.  I strongly support your intent to
make our meetings more efficient and have added my comments to your
observations below.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-council at gnso.icann.org [mailto:owner-council at gnso.icann.org]
On Behalf Of Philip Sheppard
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 3:35 AM
To: 'Council GNSO'
Subject: [council] Council work 

Avri, fellow Council members 

I am becoming increasingly concerned about the bureaucratisation of
Council work.
We seem to have slipped into Council meetings every 14 days whereas
since Council's inception under Bruce and previous chairman, we always
managed calls every month.
Do we have a significantly increased workload now than before ? No Are
we producing more output and more implemented policy than before ? No.

Instead I fear we are wasting time on calls with work that should be
done on the list and adding unnecessary duplication.
- talking through the agenda at the start of the call - surely we can
all read ?

CG: I think your point is well taken and that a brief opportunity for
members to suggest any changes in the agenda would suffice.  I would add
the following suggestion to yours: instead of requiring in-meeting
approval of the minutes we could establish a procedure that allows for
automatic approval of the minutes if there are no edits suggested within
a certain period of time after they are distributed to the list.

- talking through the work plan at the end of each call - surely this
admin item is best left as a web page ?

CG: We really do not spend much time on this item but we could probably
handle it more quickly by restricting our discussion to any items where
there is new information to share or there is concern about lack of
progress.  I personally believe that it is important to keep all action
items in front of use because it is very easy to forget about some and
let them slide unnecessarily. 

- seeing multiple motions on the same issue  - surely the job of an
efficient chair is to resolve these issues before a call, and present
one motion to Council that has a good chance of success?

CG:  Not sure this is necessarily the Chair's job although I think it is
fine if the Chair does it.  I believe that any Council member should be
able to propose motions that might have a good chance of success and I
think that you also support that.  But it may not always be possible to
get enough sense of the full Council's views to be able to draft a
motion with high chances of success so I think there needs to be some
flexibility here.

- voting on motions that fail - again more background work is needed

CG:  Not sure I know what you mean here?  How do we know whether a
motion fails if we do not vote?

- voting on procedural motions - eg the time line for the WHOIS study -
in the past this would have been proposed by the Chair on list and acted
upon unless there was opposition -

CG: Avri did this as I recall in the last meeting and I also support it
whenever possible and as often as possible.

- confusing Council with multiple duplicate mailings before a call - in
the past this coordination was done off list between the chair and
secretariat, and then one clear mail sent to the list by the secretariat
with all proposed motions in full text. 
- use of non ICANN work spaces like Google - what is the value of this
above a list e-mail ( I cannot edit it on Google) ?

CG: I have actually found the use of Google docs to be helpful although
I must confess I am still learning to use the tool.

- discussion on admin matters such as establishing a new group to
discuss an issue - surely this is best done on list ?

CG: Maybe I am missing your point here, but it seems to me that deciding
to form a new group is an acceptable outcome in a meeting and is
consistent with your goal to make meetings for efficient.  If that can
be done on the list before the meeting, fine.  But sometimes that may be
the result of Council discussion in a meeting.

In short, more focus on output than process, more focus on policy than
admin and consequently calls every 30 days would be welcome.


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