[NA-Discuss] [At-Large] Public Board Meeting - the Update for Prague

Beau Brendler beaubrendler at earthlink.net
Fri May 4 15:12:20 UTC 2012

I believe it was discussed and decided fairly quickly last week. It's funny, I find myself without much to say about it, because for at least three years now ICANN has not funded me to stay for Friday's meetings, so I have not attended one. I don't think they are doing away with the public forum, however. Though I know I am in the minority here, I find that to be a waste of time as well. 

What I have occasionally found helpful are the interactions between the board and the at-large group at the three annual meetings -- sometimes it's a breakfast, sometimes it's a lunch. On a few occasions it has provided an opportunity to grill board members on problematic topics.

However, last time, I found the interaction to be predictably scripted. We spent the time talking about cross-functional teams or some sort of useless topic. If this public board meeting is going to go away, then what should happen -- since the at-large is supposed to represent the public interest -- is that the at-large should tell the board what it wants to discuss in its meeting, and it should follow up on each statement ALAC has made since the last meeting to determine what the board has or has not done about it. 

For instance, in Prague, I suggest the at-large demand a full accounting of the TAS disaster. I suggest the at-large demand a full accounting of the board conflict-of-interest problems. I suggest the at-large demand a full accounting of what's being done to address the IANA contract issue. Not be shown some pre-scripted video, but have an actual interaction that's not phony. And it all needs to go on the public record.

The at-large needs to take on a role similar to that of a major shareholder in a public for-profit company. Executive behavior should be its business; failure to execute should be its business. ALAC needs to be more outside the process looking in, not submerged in process issues that are essentially meaningless to the general public. If we are arguing to hold on to a meeting so that we can parse the body language of participants, then the entire philosophy of public interaction with the board needs to be re-thought.

-----Original Message-----
>From: Eduardo Diaz <eduardodiazrivera at gmail.com>
>Sent: May 4, 2012 8:19 AM
>To: Bret Fausett <bfausett at internet.law.pro>
>Cc: NA Discuss <na-discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
>Subject: Re: [NA-Discuss] [At-Large] Public Board Meeting - the Update for	Prague
>When and how was this announced?
>On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 1:23 AM, Bret Fausett <bfausett at internet.law.pro>wrote:
>> I am very troubled by the decision to remove the public meeting. As I see
>> it, this presents several issues for the community:
>> 1) The Board meeting typically closes a cycle of community discussion with
>> a vote/resolution on some issue, and these end-of-meeting Board resolutions
>> are important. The deadline of closing an issue at a public meeting also
>> keeps the Board on track. Do they still intend to meet and close issues?
>> This needs to happen.
>> 2) The public meetings became a bit of orchestrated theater over the
>> years, but I still believe they served the purpose of showing the Board's
>> professionalism in addressing and resolving difficult issues. Last June's
>> meeting on New TLDs is the most recent example of this. Take a look at this
>> picture from Singapore that ICANN features on its website:
>> http://www.icann.org/en/about That's worth a thousand words. Note the
>> people in the foreground using their camera phones to capture the moment.
>> We're losing that.
>> 3) Closing the monthly meetings while leaving these end-of-session
>> meetings open was something of a compromise reached between a prior Board
>> and the ICANN community many years ago. I am concerned that the Board
>> decided to change the status quo without any notice and comment.
>> 4) As always, ICANN is under scrutiny with the IANA bid still to be
>> resolved and issues of transparency at the forefront of some of those
>> discussions. The way this was handled (was there a Board resolution?
>> Chair's decision?) only makes the optics worse. I can't seem to find any
>> background on how this decision was made, or why it was made.
>>       Bret
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