I am writing these notes on January 29, 2001 based on notes I made at the meeting and my memory. I updated the notes on January 30, 2001 to correct grammar and spelling errors and to put them into HTML form for posting on the world wide web.
On January 22, 2001 a "special" meeting of the board was called to discuss and vote upon several matters:
The official "preliminary" minutes of this meeting may be found at the following URL: http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-22jan01.htm
Because the board members are all over the world finding a time that works is a truly creative exercise - and it turns out that the creative solution means that I'm on the phone with the board at 5am California time. Ooof - I am not a morning person.
But despite the hour, we did a lot that morning.
First all, we hired a new CEO, Stuart Lynn. This is a personnel matter so I really can't go into details except to say that I voted to hire him and I am looking forward to his start date. When I voted for him I only had various papers describing his credentials. Since then his name has been made public and I have received considerable positive feedback that this is a good choice for ICANN.
Second, we appointed various board members to the various committees - I'm on the conflicts committee. Now, I might have picked a rather different set of assignments, but this is one of those things that I felt best to simply accept. Rather than focusing on the committee assignments I think it might be useful to reevaluate the committee definitions to better define when a matter can be handled by a committee and when it needs to be taken up by the full board.
Third, and this was the big issue for the morning, we took up the matter of the At-Large study.
Before the meeting I had established several criteria to guide my comments and to determine how I would cast my vote:
I would not support anything that contained any question regarding the continued existence of the at-large and its right to directly elect at least 1/2 of the total number of elected board seats.
The committee should not work by "consensus" but rather should use on-the-record votes. The Internet community, and particularly the at-large deserve to know who is behind each decision.
The committee should have at least one member from each region who actually participated in the process as a candidate, preferably one whose name appeared on the final ballot.
The committee should have at least one member from the original Membership Advisory Committee.
The study should clearly report on the cause of the failures of the registration system and what has been done to correct that.
The study itself should not be accepted until it is voted upon, and approved by the existing members of the at-large.
The report should not prevent the holding of elections for the remaining four seats as soon as is possible.
During the discussion the issue of who would be on the committee came up. I made it clear that I believe that it is important that the committee selection endeavor to have at least one person from the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC) of the 1998 time frame.
I was surprised to discover that "staff" was opposed to having anyone on the committee who had participated in the election process - the reason given was that such people would be to predisposed towards having an at-large and elections. To my mind this was, to put it mildly, a rather odd point of view and represented a bias against the at-large. Fortunately the board overruled "staff" and instructed "staff" that no such impediment to committee membership would be imposed.
Given that ICANN has asked the supporting organizations for their suggestions for who should be on the committee, I raised the question about when ICANN would would ask the same question of those most directly concerned - the at-large membership itself. Over objections of "staff" the board felt it proper that an e-mail be sent to the entire at-large membership informing them of the at-large study, asking for their suggestions as to who should be committee members, and finally asking for their participation in the study.
I am somewhat concerned that these decisions of the Board, because they were not formal resolutions, may be lost, overlooked, or ignored in practice.
Because several of my criteria would not be met, I ended up voting against the resolution. However, the resolution passed over my objection.
As for the subsequent resolution to bring in Carl Bildt, Charles Costello, and Pindar Wong - I took the position that even if I was opposed to the At-Large study itself, that study was going to occur despite my opposition. So I felt that despite my reservations it was important to do what I could to make sure that the study was as good as it could be. Consequently I originated this motion. And I voted for it. This motion passed.
Again, in the interests of making the study as good as it could be, I seconded (and voted for) the motion to get the committee running and provide working funds. This motion also passed.
Two reports from the reconsideration committee had been issued and there was a suggestion that the board take them up. I felt that the matters should be deferred until the next board meeting for the following reasons:
According to the ICANN bylaws the shortest time in which a board meeting can be called is upon 48 hours notice. In this instance the board was given notice of the existence of these two reports a mere 17 hours prior to the board meeting. Although the bylaws do not address this point specifically, I felt that this was in conflict with the 48 hour meeting notice requirement.
I do not want to undertake decisions on behalf of the 300,000,000+ people in my at-large region without giving them a reasonable opportunity to notice what is happening in ICANN and giving me their opinions. It seems to me that 17 hours is far, far too short a period for people to discover that something has appeared on a page deep within ICANN's web site, to read it, to consider it, and to give me an opinion.
The matters were deferred for these reasons.