[ALAC] [ALAC-ExCom] ALAC/At-Large Improvements Project -- important update

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Wed Oct 12 17:09:26 UTC 2011

As the person who arguably started this discussion by proposing 
monitoring and subsequent possible actions several years ago (and 
still bear the scars from presiding over what may be the 
hottest-under-the-collar ALAC meeting on record), I would like to add 
a few thoughts.

I agree that the word "sanctions" is far too strong and onerous a 
word to be used here, but as Olivier has pointed out, we still need 
to discuss what type of action the ALAC or perhaps the ALAC Chair or 
officers) *might* take in the case of significant under-performance. 
And I of course agree that we do need to be as specific as possible 
in identifying ahead of time what is expected of ALAC members and 
RALO officers.

There are three additional perspectives that I have not seen being 
raised. In my years on and watching the ALAC, I have seen all three, 
so they are not just theoretical.

- For a RALO appointed ALAC member, if the RALO is happy with their 
representatives performance, perhaps the rest of At-Large should 
accept that. But even if they are not, it is counter to the 
personality (and cultures) of some to actually confront the person 
who they often have to deal with in other contexts, and who they 
often consider a friend. Having the ALAC (or a someone) do the dirty 
work for them might be a safe way out of the situation.

- If an ALAC member severely under-performs, it is not just their 
region that suffers. This adds to the load carried by the rest of the 
ALAC. If (as sadly has been the case in some past years), a 
significant percentage of the ALAC are in this category, the load on 
the rest becomes ridiculous.

- The overall reputation and credibility of ALAC and At-Large can be 
impacted the poor performance of just a few.

I am not proposing how we deal with such situations, but it is 
important to consider all implications when we discuss what if 
anything should be done other than collect and make available 
performance data (as all seem to agree should be done).


At 12/10/2011 11:56 AM, Wolf Ludwig wrote:
>Hi all,
>I share Evan's basic question: "accountable to who?" and subsequent 
>considerations. And I would say: In a broader sense to the Internet 
>users in general, in a causal sense to the regional community that 
>selected them = the RALOs concerned by such an under-performing 
>candidate should be "in charge" of any potential "sanction" 
>mechanisms because the two *RALO selected* ALAC members are - first 
>and foremost - accountable to their electorate. A defective 
>performance of a regional representative / ALAC member affects 
>performance and reputation of the particular region and cannot be in 
>their interest = be tolerated over a certain span of time (except 
>for serious circumstances such as sickness and the like).
>I understand Carlton's reservations against sanctions or punishments 
>of volunteers but as soon as limited seats (15 or 2 per region) and 
>financial (travel etc.) resources are associated with a volunteer's 
>engagement, the mandated person and his community have a special 
>responsibility and accountability towards ALAC and ICANN. Otherwise, 
>we cannot fulfill our role and commitments - what we stand for - 
>diligently representing the users at ICANN.
>The key deliberation must be: The standards and professionalism we 
>expect and demand from others, we must fulfill ourselves at first 
>hand (typical trap of credibility ;-).
>Evan Leibovitch wrote Tue, 11 Oct 2011 19:39:
> >On 11 October 2011 19:04, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Take imaginary example candidate A, ALAC member, does not attend calls,
> >> does not attend meetings, or when he travels, uses their time outside of
> >> the ALAC room. A does not get involved in ALAC & other working groups. A
> >> is basically using their affiliation to ALAC as something that looks
> >> good on their CV. Admittedly, this is an extreme, but Carlton, at the
> >> moment, nothing can be done about that person, and that imaginary person
> >> is occupying a seat on the ALAC, one of the only 15 seats of people
> >> supposed to act in the best interests of the 2.1Bn Internet users out
> >> there. That person is failing those 2.1Bn people. That person is not
> >> accountable.
> >>
> >I guess the big question -- at least MY big question -- is, accountable to
> >who?
> >
> >If that person was sent by a RALO, the RALO should be able to handle this
> >issue through a recall or other similar measure.
> >
> >If the person was appointed by the NomCom, the procedure is different but a
> >mechanism is still required. By definition a NomCom ALAC appointee is not
> >accountable to ALAC or the region, however it reflects badly on the NomCom
> >and ICANN itself if non-performing ALAC members are chosen and allowed to
> >under-serve for an entire two-year term.
> >
> >What bothers me the most is the prospect of ALAC passing judgment over its
> >own members. If a RALO elects someone who reflects their viewpoint, and that
> >viewpoint is that only a small number of issues matter, this is indeed the
> >RALO's choice to make and ALAC has no right to engage in top-down
> >second-guessing. Education and persuasion, certainly, but not sanctions.
> >
> >I fully agree on requesting that every RALO has some kind of recall
> >mechanism for their elected officials -- not just ALAC members but also RALO
> >chairs, secretariats and liaisons as applicable. Indeed I have long
> >advocated this within my own RALO. I am also greatly in favour of staff's
> >providing attendance and other performance metrics that allow a RALO to act
> >appropriately on factual inputs. But I am very much against any scheme that
> >has ALAC members being accountable to other ALAC members.
> >
> >It's bad enough that the ICANN Board has no legal, fiduciary duty to the
> >public, but only to ICANN itself. Let's not justify, let alone propagate
> >that mistake within our own bounds.
> >
> >But in any case, this debate is premature. We're at an intermediate
> >> stage, with more than 50 recommendations in this report, some of which
> >> are completed, some of which need to be taken to the next stage. The
> >> debate on sanctions/no sanctions will happen later.
> >
> >
> >I don't think there's any problem with that. As I've mentioned, it's simply
> >that the wording in the report right now could easily be interpreted by a
> >casual reader to infer that we have already had the discussion, agreed on a
> >regime of sanctions, and are simply discussing appropriate implementation
> >going forward. WE know the debate is incomplete, but that is not what the
> >report indicates.
> >
> >- Evan
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> >
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