ICANN finally might appoint an ombudsman
Date: Monday February 23 2009, @03:21PM
Topic: Board of Directors

ehasbrouck writes "A mysterious item has appeared on the Board meeting page in the agenda for the 6 March 2009 Board meeting in Mexico City: "Approval of Ombudsman".

I suspect this means that ICANN has finally noticed from my recent comments on the abolition of the reconsideration Committee that they have never appointed an Ombudsman, and have thus been in violation of their Bylaws. I don't know why they have finally noticed or decided to act.

As I pointed out in 2007:

ICANN's Bylaws require that, "The Ombudsman shall be appointed by the Board for an initial term of two years, subject to renewal by the Board."

ICANN announced [in a press release] in November 2004 that an Ombudsman had been appointed. But there is no record in the publicly-disclosed minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors that such an appointment was ever made by the Board. And more than two years have passed, with no record of any decision to renew any such appointment.

Since most Board meetings are secret, and some minutes have never been published, it's impossible for the public to tell if the Board secretly appointed and/or renewed the apointment of an Ombudsman (in violation of the transparency Bylaw), or if an Ombudsman was appointed by some entity other than the Board (in violation of the Ombudsman Bylaw). But it's clear from even cursory comparison of the Bylaws with ICANN's public records that the person acting as Ombudsman has not been properly appointed, and that one or the other Bylaw has been violated....

The person acting as Ombudsman has committed such grave breaches of professional ethics and the Bylaws that they would clearly be unfit for the position, even if they were now proposed for appointment by the Board. In my case, the person acting as Ombudsman intervened -- successfully -- to block my access to the reconsideration process on a different issue, even though he knew or reasonably should have known that it would be a violation of ICANN's Bylaws for his opinions to be used as a basis for that action by the Reconsideration Committee.

There is no formal proposal yet posted for the appointment of an Ombudsman. It will be interesteing to see how ICANN tries to explain why it is only now, years late, appointing an Ombudsman, whether it allows public comment on the proposed choice of an Ombudsman -- or why the person who has been acting as Ombudsman paid so little attention ot the Bylaws or precedural due process that he didn't notice that he was required to be appointed by vote of the Board.

In any event, since the (illegal) "incumbent" is clearly unqualified, it's now time for the community, or would-be candidates themselves, to put forward nominations for the position of ICANN Ombudsman -- if you can figure out the correct point of contact for such nominations."

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Revised agenda
by ehasbrouck on Thursday February 26 2009, @10:20AM (#16993)
User #3130 Info | http://hasbrouck.org
The day after I posted this article, the agenda item was changed from "Approval of Ombudsman" to "Approval of Ombudsman Framework". Maybe they *still* aren't going to properly appoint an Ombudsman. I don't know. No specific proposal has been posted yet for Board action unbder this agenda item, or for public comment.

The Board has never appointed an Ombudsman, unless they have done so in secret (and thus in violation of the transparency Bylaw). But the (proposed?) Ombudsman Framework [icann.org] says, "The Office of Ombudsman reports only to ICANN's Board of Directors. The Ombudsman cannot be removed from office, except by a 75% majority vote of the board." The Ombudsman Framework doesn't mention the requirement in the Bylaws that the Ombudsman must be appointed by the Board.

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More details and follow-up
by ehasbrouck on Friday March 06 2009, @06:23AM (#16998)
User #3130 Info | http://hasbrouck.org
Still trying to get answers from ICANN [hasbrouck.org]
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