[At-Large] ALAC Director

Roberto Gaetano roberto at icann.org
Fri Sep 3 22:20:36 UTC 2010

As the deadline for applications is approaching, I would like to give my
contribution to the ongoing debate.

First of all, a disclaimer. Some people have asked me whether I was going to
submit my candidature. As the first ALAC Liaison to the Board, and later on
voting Director, it might seem almost natural.
However, my answer is no, and the reason is simple. As a Chair of some Board
Committees and Working Groups, I feel I have contributed in the past years
to the process of establishing the voting seat on the Board for ALAC. As
such, I believe that it would be ethically incorrect to apply for a seat
that I have contributed to establish.
ALAC has many fine potential candidates who are able to do the job even
better than me, and without being perceived to be in a sort of conflict of
interest position.

On the issue about remuneration of the Directors, I think that Thomas
(Narten) has well summarized the lively discussions that the Board had on
the subject. Opinions were widely different, and all points raised on the
ALAC email thread have been abundantly discussed, but leaving still the
situation without a Board consensus.
My personal opinion is that an ICANN Director should not be remunerated.
Incidentally, the case for the Chair is a different one, as we are talking
about a task that is almost a full time job.
The problem is that in ICANN there are lots of people doing work as
volounteers. I don't think that the contribution of a Director is more
important, or more time consuming, that other positions like the Name
Council Chair. Why should the former be remunerated and the latter not? And
then we could go on. Where to draw the line?
I fully respect the opinions of, inter alia, Karl. I understand the issue of
fiduciary responsibility, the need for legal advice, and so on. However, I
still think that to have people that base their decision to be or not to be
a Director on whether they get a sufficient amount of money would be risky
to say the least. I believe this being true for "generic" Directors, but
even more true for a person that has to represent the interest of the
AtLarge community.
To represent this community I believe that we need to have somebody that has
the enthusiasm of fighting for what he/she thinks to be the good thing,
somebody who has the strength to overcome the difficulties, somebody who
would never be looked at by some internauts in developing countries like a
white collar who makes a living pretending to represent them in the ICANN
Board while getting paid for it.
ALAC needs indeed a "doer", to continue stealing words from Karl. However, I
disagree with the part of the analysis from some contributors (was it John?)
who claim that you cannot afford to be on the Board unless you are sponsored
by your employer or have other funding.
I believe, although I might be wrong, to have been on the Board enough of a
"doer". The only contribution I had from my employer was to be granted 10
extra days off per year (and only for 2 of the 6 years I have spent on the
Board) to attend meetings. All the rest was my own time. It is doable, if
you believe in what you are doing, and if you like this job. It is the
willingness to fight for your ideas that gives the strength to stay up at
night during a 3h teleconference in a foreign language, not the
remuneration. It is the satisfaction for doing something useful for the
community that allows you to land after a long flight coming from some ICANN
event, go home for a quick shower, and go back to your day job. Of course,
it puts some stress on you and on your family life, and severely limits your
ability to do other activities. Of course, when your term is over, you are
happy to have a break and to get time for the things you have neglected for
years. But somebody else will pick up the flag and continue the process, and
continue to move things forward.

All this might sound very "fairy tale-ish" or old fashioned. Icidentally,
maybe I do am idealistic and old fashioned, and the world is going in a
different direction. But this is my opinion, and I wanted to express it.
To be clear, I am not going to the extreme that, if one day some
remuneration is granted to Directors, the ideal ALAC Director should refuse
it: I am just saying that I would personally not be in favour of electing a
candidate who considers remuneration a condition to accept this task.

Have a nice weekend,

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