[ARIN-consult] Consultation on Increasing the Size of the ARIN Board of Trustees

Ron da Silva ronald.v.dasilva at gmail.com
Mon Mar 14 13:23:46 EDT 2022

> Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2022 13:54:29 -0500
> From: ARIN <info at arin.net>
> To: <arin-consult at arin.net>
> Subject: [ARIN-consult] Consultation on Increasing the Size of the ARIN Board of Trustees
> Message-ID: <4931F2C5-23E9-4490-BE33-82730AB1B14F at arin.net>
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> One recommendation from this governance review is to increase the size of the Board to strengthen its capacity to provide strategic and fiscal oversight of ARIN. Increasing the Board size will:  
> 1. Increase the range and depth of overlapping skills and governance experience on the Board to augment its capability. Specific areas for strengthening include cybersecurity, risk management, finance, legal, technology and strategic oversight. This will require more than 6 elected seats at the board table to provide this experience.
> 2. Increase diversity of thought on issues impacting the community, limit the possibility of board capture, and balance the time commitment required of our community volunteers.
> 3. Ensure sufficient board capacity to engage in more focused, efficient governance activities, including participation in these additional valuable committees (e.g. Governance, Risk & Cybersecurity, and Strategy & Foresight) to manage the work and oversight duties of the Board, and to take on work that is requested by, and important to, the community as it evolves.
> Board Proposal
> ARIN will increase the number of elected voting seats of the Board from six to nine. The currently available appointed voting seat would be removed.
> The additional Board seats would be added in a staggered format with one additional seat for election in each of the upcoming election cycles starting with the 2022 election period.
> ARIN seeks community feedback on this proposed increase to the size of the Board. This consultation will remain open for 15 days.

My initial reaction is to not support increasing the size of the board from six to nine.  Nominally, it is seven to ten (including the voting CEO).. an even number being an obvious issue.  Notwithstanding the even number issue, the argument sounds like the Board wants to be more operationally involved in issues that are best directed to the CEO for accountability.

Now, arguing needing more Board members to ensure that a diverse set of skills are adequately represented, might be just an indication that the Board needs more rounded candidates who carry all/most of those areas of experience.  Perhaps a Board self assessment to identify existing members who lack these needed skills and either a) developing a path to obtain them as a sitting Trustee or b) updating the “desired qualifications letter” provided to the nomcom as a way to refresh the Board with candidates possessing the desires experiences and expertise… and yes that would likely mean not reappointing sitting Board members who are missing those qualifications.

This concern about capture needs more discussion.  I’ve heard the assertion that “the Canadian” have captured the Board, control the votes in the elections and have more influence/impact than the rest of the ARIN service area.  I’m not sure I buy into that assertion, but just put it out there because I hear people claiming it exists.  That said, if there is a genuine concern about capture as a geopolitical concern, then perhaps putting some geographic diversity requirement to the Board would help address that ?   e.g. require 2 members from the US, 2 from Canada and 2 from the Caribbean…  or some variation on that, along with staggered seats, etc.  Would love to hear thoughts on how to create some mandated geographic diversity, if in fact that is what is meant by “risk of capture”.

Now, combining those topics together.. perhaps would make some geographic mandate easier..  e.g. 3 US, 2 Canadian, 2 Caribbean and 1 at-large seat.. or similar distribution.  ??


PS: IF an increase.. I like Owen’s suggestion staggered approach in a single election… 

PPS: perhaps another option is to create an “associate Board” role to allow for on-ramping and developing new Trustees who create a pipeline vs. increasing Board size ?

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