[discuss] governments and rule of law (was: Possible approaches to solving...)

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Thu Feb 27 12:48:18 UTC 2014

On Feb 27, 2014, at 1:34 AM, Alejandro Pisanty <apisanty at gmail.com> wrote:

> John,
> thanks. That seems to be a Board which also finds itself occasionally in controversy about its actions, in particular whether it complies with policy and strictly limits itself to its prescribed role: http://lists.arin.net/pipermail/arin-ppml/2014-January/027601.html

Alejandro - 
    You apparently have missed the point - it is not possible to prevent controversy in
     these institutions, but is it possible to lay out clear expectations regarding normal
     roles in the policy development processes, and thus make for better interactions
     among the various bodies during policy development. 
    The example you point out above is actually ideal; it highlights that the Board does
     have to ultimately take responsibility for the mission of the organization, and that
     may indeed mean taking action in a "top-down" rather than "bottom-up" manner,
     but such events should be quite rare and happen for understandable reasons.

     In the particular case above, the member-elected ARIN Board used a specific
     process in ARIN's policy process to temporarily suspend policy that was shown 
     to be serious risk to the mission and referred the matter to the community to 
     consider a permanent solution (the suspension was necessary before public
     consideration because raising the matter with the community without first doing 
     so would have highlighted the loophole and resulted in severe risk.)  The ARIN
     Board constrained its actions by following the documented process for such a 
     suspension and referral, while in theory it could have just resolved the issue 
     issue itself.   Again, the point is not whether the Board has ultimate authority
     or not, but whether it is willing to constrain its use of authority along processes
     which provide maximal opportunity for community consideration and feedback.

> Next issue please...

     Sure - note also that in the case above, the ARIN Board is an _elected_ body 
     wherein each trustee is subject to potential removal by the community, thus providing 
     for clear accountability for actions.   In addition to providing for a clear process and 
     criteria for ICANN Board ratification of policy, it might be very helpful towards 
     accountability if the ICANN Board were similarly elected by a defined community
     and subject to removal by vote.  The present ICANN Bylaws make individual
     directors removable only by the other ICANN directors, which doesn't exactly 
     provide for any counterbalance if the ICANN Board should act in a manner which
     surprises the community that it supposed to be serving.


Disclaimer:  My views alone.

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