[ALAC-ExCom] Fwd: ICANN Volunteer engagement and Travel Support issues

Carlton Samuels carlton.samuels at gmail.com
Thu Jan 3 16:13:49 UTC 2013

Excellent!  You said all that could be said .......agreeably.

- Carlton

Carlton A Samuels
Mobile: 876-818-1799
*Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround*

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 10:51 AM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com>wrote:

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject:        ICANN Volunteer engagement and Travel Support issues
> Date:   Thu, 03 Jan 2013 15:30:46 +0100
> From:   Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com>
> To:     Sally Costerton <sally.costerton at icann.org>
> CC:     Steve Antonoff <steve.antonoff at icann.org>, Sébastien Bachollet
> <sebastien at bachollet.com>, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com>,
> ICANN AtLarge Staff <staff at atlarge.icann.org>
> Ref: /AL/ALAC/CO/0113/1
> To: Sally Costerton - Senior Advisor to the President - Global Stakeholder
> Engagement
> CC: Steve Antonoff - Director of Human Resources
> CC: Sébastien Bachollet
> CC: At-Large Staff
> Dear Sally,
> I am writing about an ongoing issue of concern to ALAC, and in particular
> a current instance where we could benefit from your guidance and help.
> The overall issue is travel support for ALAC and At-Large. This is an
> issue that has been the subject of unending discussion and negotiation, but
> regrettably, we keep on having to do battle on the same issues time and
> again. At-Large is the only ICANN stakeholder that, with very few
> exceptions, has no ability to fund our involvement and particularly our
> travel without support from ICANN. Almost none of our active participants
> are employed by the domain name industry and very few even by
> Internet-related organizations. We all give generously of our time, and
> often at a non-trivial loss of other income, in the interest of ICANN. But
> actual out-of-pocket expenses are generally beyond our capabilities.
> Over the years, we have worked hard to convince ICANN management of this,
> and to a large extent, we have succeeded. We have not recently been
> threatened with reduction of funding for travel to ICANN meetings, and have
> even recently been funded for travel to the IGF meeting in Baku. For this
> we are grateful.
> However, there are still regular occurrences where we feel that our needs
> are not being met.
> We are finding that the rules for travel to Beijing are proving
> problematic for some of our participants, and although the savings to ICANN
> from these rules are minimal, the annoyance factor is sufficiently high
> that some travellers are considering not participating.
> For several years, the ALAC Executive Committee (ExCom) has met after the
> end of the "formal" ICANN week. When the ICANN Board met on Friday morning,
> the ExCom met on Friday afternoon. The meeting used to end at 16:00 and our
> members who had started their week on the previous Sunday morning or earlier
> were allowed to leave on Saturday morning.
> In Toronto, with no formal ICANN meetings scheduled for Friday, the ExCom
> met on Friday morning. Some attendees were given Saturday departures, but
> most were told they must leave on Friday, regardless of the schedule for
> reasonably departing flights. I for one ended up paying for my own Friday
> hotel to allow a less-rushed departure.
> In Beijing, we are all being told that a Friday departure is mandatory.
> There is a provision by which we might ask for an "exception" which may or
> may not be accepted. The ExCom, which is arguably composed of the most
> dedicated At-Large contributors, and certainly those who put in the most
> time and effort, finds this process unacceptable. To have to effectively
> ask to be allowed a reasonable departure after a LONG week of work is just
> not right, especially mindful of the vast cultural diversity of our
> delegates.
> Case by case exceptions have needed to be requested by ExCom members. In
> some cultures, such requests are seen as irritating but understood. In
> others, there comes a real shame with asking for such extension when the
> possibility of rejection is real.
> ICANN staff members are often given the privilege of leaving the day after
> their work completes, or at least being allowed to keep their hotel rooms
> until their actual hotel departure, if later in the day (and not having to
> vacate them early in the morning prior to their first meeting). Clearly
> some flexibility is shown. Unpaid At-Large volunteers currently do not
> receive this same courtesy. Moreover, in the past when GNSO Council members
> were allowed to stay for the Friday sessions (a right often not given to
> ALAC), they always were allowed a Saturday departure.
> Related to this is a recurrent problem of volunteers arriving in the
> evening or at night after a trip half way around the world in Economy
> Class, often getting to the hotel near or after midnight, and being
> expected to appear (presumably rested and ready to work) early the
> following morning. Again, ICANN sees the benefits of having its employees
> be well rested before starting a grueling ICANN week, but often volunteers
> are not afforded the same courtesy.
> Our At-Large volunteers are a dedicated group, working untold hours at
> home and then spending 10+ hours a day in meetings for 5-6 days. There are
> no doubt some people who are looking for every loop-hole where they can get
> ICANN to fund their vacation. If staff feel that this applies to any
> At-Large people, I am freely available to work with them to ensure that
> this does not happen. Having to ask for special treatment does not replace
> being treated with respect as a professional. There is a strong feeling of
> resentment towards not being given just a modicum of flexibility regarding
> travel schedules and several members have therefore informed me that they
> will be unwilling to travel to the next ICANN meeting if this type of
> penny-pinching (yes, that is the term used) continues to occur.
> Summarising: please be so kind to consider a return to the rules to show
> flexibility for incoming members to have the discretion to allow for
> arrival on the Friday rather than the Saturday before their 10 hour day on
> Sunday at the beginning of the ICANN meeting week and for At-Large to
> travel the day after their last day of work at the end of the ICANN meeting
> week.
> I look forward to your follow-up on the matter.
> Best regards,
> Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
> ALAC Chair
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