I am writing these notes on November 17, 2000.
Two meetings of the ICANN board occurred yesterday.
The first meeting was the "annual" meeting. I was not a member of the Board during this meeting. The primary business of that meeting was to select among various applications for new DNS Top Level Domains.
The second meeting was called as following. I was a member of the Board for this second meeting meeting.
Special Organizational Meeting of the Board
This meeting is scheduled to commence after the conclusion of ICANN's second Annual Meeting (see immediately below). The agenda of the organizational meeting consists of election of the Board's Chairman and Vice-Chairman (as provided in Article V, Section 3(b) of the bylaws) and other matters concerning organization of the Board.
I was not a member of the ICANN board for this meeting - my term started at the "conclusion" of the annual meeting. (See Article II, Section 2 of the ICANN by-laws.) Since I was not part of the board during the Annual Meeting, I did not participate and I had no involvement with the selection of the new Top Level Domains.
During the preceding day (November 15) when public comments were being heard, I did publicly state during my turn at the microphone the how I would have decided had I been participating in the decision:
I would have accepted all of the applications, subject to the following limitations:
Any application associated with a Director, officer, or employee of ICANN should be rejected.
Where multiple applications ask for the same TLD string, the application able to show the earliest demonstrated use on the Internet should prevail. Where no prior use existed, a random selection would be used.
Where an application was backed or staffed by a person or entity that was associated with an existing registrar or registry operating under the aegis of ICANN or the US Department of Commerce then that person or entity would be required to withdraw from that application.
Where an application was backed or staffed by a person or entity that was associated with another application then that person or entity would be required to make a binding commitment to at most one application and withdraw from all of the other applications.
As I described in my platform I do not believe that ICANN should be injecting itself into the business plans of those who wish to operate top level domains beyond that to needed to prevent aggregation of control into the hands of a small set of operators. Nor should ICANN be engaged in interpreting or enforcing some semantic or "charter" for a top level domain. To my mind ICANN evaluation of such charters could lead to an implicit obligation on the part of ICANN to monitor that the TLD, as actually deployed and used, conforms to the charter and that ICANN could thereby be obligated to take concrete steps to remedy such non-conformance.
This meeting was called in order to select a new Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and "other matters concerning organization of the Board." The latter turned out to be the selection of an "executive committee" of the board.
I had not seen any drafts of resolutions nor heard from any other board member of who might be nominated.
So when three resolutions were flashed, fully formed (like the Birth of Venus, but not as beautiful) onto the screen, they were new to me, a surprise. I felt ambushed.
I moved to separate the three motions so that each could be voted on individually. And indeed we did vote on them separately.
Here are the motions with my comments interleaved.
Election of the Chairman of the Board
RESOLVED [00.93], that Vinton Cerf is elected as Chairman of the Board to serve at the pleasure of the Board and in accordance with the Bylaws of the Corporation, and shall hold such office until his resignation, removal or other disqualification from service, or until his successor shall be elected and qualified.
I voted "yes". In my opinion Vint Cerf is well suited to be Chair. I base my opinion on many years of acquaintance with him via the IETF and elsewhere.
Election of the Vice-Chairman of the Board
RESOLVED [00.94], that Alejandro Pisanty is elected as Vice-Chairman of the Board to serve at the pleasure of the Board and in accordance with the Bylaws of the Corporation, and shall hold such office until his resignation, removal or other disqualification from service, or until his successor shall be elected and qualified.
I voted "yes". In my opinion Alejandro Pisanty is well suited to be Vice-Chair. I base my opinion on several conversations and e-mail exchanges over the last year.
Executive Committee of the Board
RESOLVED [00.95], that the Executive Committee (a Committee of the Board) designated in resolution 99.120 is hereby continued. The provisions of resolutions 99.120, 99.121, and 99.122 shall continue to apply to the Executive Committee, except that the members of the Executive Committee, in addition to the Chairman, shall be Alejandro Pisanty, Nii Quaynor, Sang-Hyon Kyong, Hans Kraaijenbrink, and Michael M. Roberts.
I voted "no". I believe that any "initial" board member who has allowed his or her term to be extended from one year to four years at the expense of seats filled by the At-Large membership ought to be finding ways to exit the board rather than becoming more deeply entrenched.
To my mind, such entrenchment damages the public credibility of ICANN and reduces its ability to overcome the high hurdle of "legitimacy" - a hurdle than can only be surmounted by ICANN creating a clear and strong belief among the Internet community that ICANN is indeed acting to the benefit of that community.