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    Nomcomm Bell Tolls - For Thee? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 13 comments | Search Discussion
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    Let's stop the euphemisms...
    by KarlAuerbach on Monday April 21 2003, @12:08PM (#11510)
    User #3243 Info | http://www.cavebear.com/
    Let's stop the euphemisms and begin calling it what it is, the "Appointing Committee". The word "nominate" implies that there is another step in the process to transform "nominees" into sitting board members. There is no such step, the "nominating" committee does not nominate, it appoints.

    Beyond that - the job description put forth my the appointments commitee woefully understates the amount of work that it takes to be an informed (as apposed to a mindless rubber-stamp) board member. I figure that it takes 30 to 60 hours a week to keep up with what ICANN's staff is doing and to maintain contact with the Internet community. With the number going up to about 168 hours per week during the time of a "public" board meeting.

    And the appointments committee does not inform applicants of the potential significant, indeed, huge, personal liability risks that come from being on the board of a non-profit corporation. That is why I strongly urge any potential candidate to seek advice from their personal legal advisor(s).

    I figure that being on the ICANN board has cost me perhaps $10,000 to $20,000 yearly in direct costs and at least several hundred thousands in lost opportunity costs. (At least one other director has put the cost at about $300,000/year in lost income. I find that number highly credible.)

    The Internet is far too important for the public interest to be represented through a part-time board of directors who do not have the time to form their own truly independent judgements and who do not have the information gathering and analysis resources to avoid having to slavishly accept the recommendations of ICANN's so-called "staff".

    The appointment committee tends to portray the job of an ICANN director as a kind of friendly collegial body in which the job is to occassionally peek at "staff" and provide a few gentle nudges of guidence.

    That is a misstatement of what a Board of Directors is. Instead, a Board is a place where alternative views are to be aired and resolved, even if that means that there is open disagreement and dispute. But for there to be a valid debate on the board, the individual directors must each be aware of the issues and not be utterly dependent on "staff" for information and analysis.

    Thus I believe that we ought to consider whether ICANN should pay a meaningful director's fee so that directors can afford to spend at least a few days a week on ICANN matters. Alternatively ICANN ought to provide directors with funds for each director to hire his/her own staffer.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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    Re:Let's stop the euphemisms...
    by dmehus on Monday April 21 2003, @07:53PM (#11511)
    User #3626 Info | http://doug.mehus.info/
    Karl, you've hit the nail on the head with every point you made, pardon the cliché. I do believe the Board's job is to thoroughly evaluate and question vehemently the decisions of Dr. Twomey and Mr. Touton. And in return for their unbiased and professional criticisms of ICANN's staff or policies, directors should be paid at least some fee. Not much, but heck, even $30,000 per year each would be sufficient enough so they don't have to work a regular 40 hour week in addition to their 60 to 80 hours serving on ICANN's board. They may be able to cut their 40 hour week at another job down to 20 or 25. With a budget of more than $8 million, ICANN could surely afford it. Speaking of which, is it true ICANN collects 10 cents for every domain name registered? I know the registry takes a cut of about $6, but had no idea ICANN took a cut too. I figured ICANN just made their money from registrar accreditation. I guess in California the term "not-for-profit" is used generously and loosely. :(
    Best,
    DougDoug Mehus http://doug.mehus.info/ [mehus.info]
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Sign me confused
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday April 22 2003, @12:26PM (#11513)
    User #2810 Info
    On the one hand we have some, including myself (and including Karl if I'm not mistaken), pointing out that ICANN's proper duties used to be done by a very few individuals (mostly Jon Postel) on a part-time, and usually unpaid basis. This is often given as a counterpoint to the current situation of an ever more bloated bureaucracy. On the other hand it is now being suggested by Karl that we add to the considerable current staff numbers and costs (and perhaps problems) by paying more people, either directors or staff, even more to oversee the unoverseeable. So which is it?

    Presumably this makework project for those with connections would then in no time at all need yet another level of overseers ad infinitum. Entrusting (and paying) Dave Crocker (or equivalent) to oversee Kent Crispin (or equivalent) strikes me as a Very Very Bad Idea. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]


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