[ga] gtld Statement on NC Election (Please Post)
The gTLD Constituency is concerned by the recent suggestion that the NC
Rules of Procedure should be amended to (a) extend the six-month period that
each NC Chair is in office, and (b) allow the Chair in office to continue to
serve until a successor is appointed -- apparently only to be removed by a
two-thirds vote of the Council. This motion mandates that more
comprehensive consideration be given to its potentially long-ranging impact
as well as the new policy's inconsistency with previous discussions by the
Names Council on this issue. Therefore, the Names Council should not
proceed at this time on this expeditious timeframe.
The motion is being presented at the very moment that an election should be
held for a new NC Chair under the current rules. The current election
should and must proceed, regardless of the action the NC decides to take in
connection with the motion. Changes to the election rules can be
contemplated at some other time (and, in any event, with enough time for
stakeholders to provide comments after more complete consideration. Even
"Legislatures" do not generally create term limit (or term extension)
initiatives that have retroactive effect.
As just one illustration of the importance of non-retroactivity (albeit, not
related to term limits), the United States Constitution, a document only
amended 27 times in the last 215 years, was amended in the 1990s to state
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and
Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives
shall have intervened.
In addition, while the motion's author feels that a six month term is too
short and that she "is not aware of any elected position at least in the
U.S. which carries such a short term," we believe the NC's role as
facilitator of consensus-building may, in fact, be best served by having a
short-term NC Chair from rotating constituencies. This allows different
constituencies to lead the process. This was acknowledged during the last
Names Council call by those members that were in place when the NC
originally passed its procedural rule allowing for only one six month term
and one six month renewal.
The issue of ICANN's restructuring is very much on the minds of the ICANN
board, staff and the Internet community as a whole. The primary role of the
Names Council is to facilitate the consensus-generating process within the
DNSO. However, it has been criticized by many as being more of a
representative legislature, empowered to make rules, than a consensus
facilitator. Although we believe that the Names Council is doing the best
job that it can given the diversity of its membership, we believe that
passing this motion would lend further support for the criticisms the DNSO
has received in the past. At a time when some are calling into question
procedural and substantive actions by the NC, and even suggesting that the
NC should not be part of a restructured ICANN, we fear that taking such an
action, with no notice to or discussion by the GA and larger ICANN
community, would play right into the hands of NC critics and hasten the
demise of the NC.
This is in not a comment on the current chair. We recognize that the current
chair has worked very hard to organize and focus the work of the NC.
However, at a time when many in the Internet community question the
credibility of the DNSO, no action should be taken by the DNSO which could
signal to the rest of the world that the DNSO is not interested in consensus
We urge the NC to reject the motion and hold an immediate election for its
chair in accordance with the Rules of Procedure that are currently in
effect. If it turns out that this motion is desirable by the Internet
community, the motion can be voted on at some point in the future (after
enough time for feedback from the ICANN community) and apply to subsequent
Jeffrey J. Neuman, Esq.
Chair, gTLD Registry Constituency
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