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07 May 2018

COMMENT


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FINAL VERSION TO BE SUBMITTED IF RATIFIED

The final version to be submitted, if the draft is ratified, will be placed here by upon completion of the vote. 




FINAL DRAFT VERSION TO BE VOTED UPON BY THE ALAC

The final draft version to be voted upon by the ALAC will be placed here before the vote is to begin.




FIRST DRAFT SUBMITTED

The first draft submitted will be placed here before the call for comments begins.

A. Preamble

  1. Given that ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model depends on balanced participation from all stakeholders in the policy formulation process, and as the ICANN Nominating Committee is mandated with ensuring that a fair, participatory process exists to identify and appoint individuals for the leadership positions, the periodic independent external review is important to ensures that the NomCom continues to function effectively in the face of changes in the ICANN community and environment.
  2. The ALAC is therefore thankful for this opportunity for commenting on the recommendations of the draft final report of the NomCom Review

 

B. Responses to Specific Recommendations

 

Recommendation 1: Formalize a job description

Agree. ALAC has already adopted this process.

 

Recommendation 2: Training to NomCom members

Agree, as long as the training does not attempt to coerce members to a preset agenda. NomCom members must keep the interests of their own constituency as well as the Global Public Interest in mind as general guiding principles.

Recommendation 3: Training for NomCom Leadership

Agree.

 

Recommendation 5: Role of a professional consultant

Agree, with the stipulations that (a) the process of identification of the consultant must be free and fair, and (b) the same consultant should not continue for a set number of years (say two years).

Recommendation 6

Agree, with the same caveats as for #5.

Recommendation 7: A maximum of two two-year terms for NomCom Members

Do not Agree: Up to two one-year terms, which is the current practice, does not need to change. A one-year term allows the sending constituency group to withdraw an unsuitable person after a year (noting that the NomCom has just unilaterally "fired" one of its members).

 

Further, for At-Large, the NomCom is also a good place for grooming its internal leaders, especially promising newcomers. A four-year term limits the number of leaders who can be groomed through the NomCom. Given that At-Large has many people waiting on the wings for leadership opportunities, two one-year terms may be more appropriate.

Recommendation 8: Maintain current size of NomCom

Agree.

Recommendation 9: All NomCom members should be voting members

Agree.

Recommendation 10: Review every 5 years

 

Agree.

Recommendation 11: Senior NomCom Support Staff should report to the CEO

Do not agree: Given that the NomCom Chair and Chair-elect report to the BGC, their support Staff reporting to the CEO has the potential to create crossed wires, besides constraining the NomCom leadership. The Staff member should report to the NomCom Leadership.

Recommendation 12: NomCom leadership should have input on NomCom budget

Agree. Given the situation that some ICANN meetings are convened in places where some NomCom members, particularly from At-Large, find it difficult to obtain visas, the NomCom should be allowed to convene their face-to-face meetings in places where it decides and not be forced to follow the ICANN Schedules. This has budget implications.

In any case, functional autonomy of the NomCom implies a degree of control over its own budget.

Recommendation 13: Publish a Process diagram

Agree.

Recommendations 14, 15, 16

Agree.

Recommendation 17: Maintain NomCom Diversity at current levels

Do Not Agree: Diversity is usually something that we can never have enough of, particularly given the Multistakeholder composition of ICANN. While there may be challenges in increasing NomCom diversity, we have not yet reached a point where the diversity is sufficient (noting that even the Gender diversity requirements are not met during all years).

Recommendation 20: Preliminary screening by external consultants

The preliminary screening can be done by the NomCom itself (as it was done this year). Besides being fair, this would also be cost-effective.

 

If an external consultant must be brought in for this step, then it must be subject to stipulation mentioned in Recommendation #5 above.


C. General Comments

1. As noted in the report, the ICANN NomCom is different in its function compared to most other Nominating Committees. Going by the general definition of a Nominating Committee (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee#Nominating_committee), the main task assigned is to identify a slate of candidates for different positions, which is then voted on by the membership. In ICANN, the NomCom goes beyond this, directly appointing candidates to positions. In this way the NomCom subsumes some of the membership’s powers, and consequently, it should be much more accountable to the community. At present, only a very small part of the ICANN community appears to sense a potential problem in this structure. The survey does not appear to have listed this as a point for comment.

 

2. A significant related concern here is that since the NomCom is a much smaller group of people (than the membership), whether it is possible to ‘game’ the candidate selection process by a small group of NomCom members. In this regard, the opaque and ‘confidential’ nature of NomCom processes makes it impossible for a NomCom member to consult her appointing constituency, making the possibility of gaming easier.

 

3. The current review has steered clear of both the above concerns. As ICANN becomes functionally independent of all Governments, it would be subject to intense public scrutiny, and perhaps it’s important to dispel any doubts on these important issues.

 

4. The current practice is for each NomCom to start “on a clean slate” as far as its operations are concerned. In order to retain and re-use the best practices of previous NomComs, it is suggested that a living document on NomCom best practises be maintained by Staff with inputs reviewed by the NomCom leadership.

 

5. Much has been made about the confidentiality of NomCom’s processes. While confidentiality needs to be maintained at the core, wherever open, transparent processes can be adopted, they should be done. An opaque NomCom is not in the best interests of an otherwise open, transparent, bottom-up Multistakeholder organization such as ICANN.

 

6. The 360-degree evaluations that used to be carried out for each NomCom member and for the leadership team have not found a place in the review recommendations. If provided in time, these may be useful for the NomCom to provide feedback to the appointing constituencies on the performance of their appointees. A single composite score aggregating individual scores may also be useful in assigning an overall evaluation for the whole NomCom. The practice should therefore be continued.

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