[arin-discuss] [arin-ppml] Advisory Council Position Petitions?

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at ipinc.net
Wed Sep 23 18:46:02 EDT 2009

John Curran wrote:
> On Sep 23, 2009, at 4:36 PM, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>> ...
>> I don't have a problem with the NomCom disqualifying candidates for
>> whatever reason.
>> I do have a huge problem when those "whatever reason" is shrouded in
>> secrecy.
> Ted -
> Disqualification based on the hard criteria isn't the problem (and  
> isn't necessarily the job of the NomCom).  For example, if someone is  
> works for another RIR, they may not serve as an ARIN AC or Board  
> member. Unless they're planning to change jobs upon election, there  
> will be a hard conflict.  The bylaws lay out a handful of structural  
> conflict-of-interest items, but these are factual in nature and do not  
> require the NomCom in order for them to be adequately addressed.
> The issue is with the "evaluation of Nominees' experiences and  
> qualifications" (per NomCom charter).  I will outline some purely  
> hypothetical situations and how they might be handled under the  
> current process:
> 1) A nominee for the AC indicates that they'd like to serve, but they  
> also note that they operate a business which depends on availability  
> of WHOIS data to function.  They tell the NomCom that they intend to  
> recuse themselves from WHOIS policy discussions, to prevent potential  
> material conflict of interest.   The NomCom sees that quite a bit of  
> the upcoming discussions in the next three years will relate to WHOIS  
> policy, and feel that the nominee will be impaired, but not fatally  
> so.  In a situation with insufficient nominations, they decide to put  
> the nominee on the AC slate. In a situation with more nominees, they'd  
> certainly omit the nominee from the slate.
> 2) A nominee for the Board indicates that they've got enough time to  
> serve, based on the written description of trustee demands.  The  
> nominee's worried that it might be tight in terms of time commitment  
> but otherwise manageable as long as "The Big Contract" that they bid  
> on doesn't get awarded to them.  The nominee says confidentially that  
> it's really a remote chance, since the following well-known firms are  
> competing for it:  XYZ, ABC, QED, but if the award does happen they  
> will have to resign.  The NomCom considers this, and given the dearth  
> of other candidates either decides it is a reasonable or an  
> unreasonable risk to add to the Board slate given their potential to  
> resign mid-term.
> I agree that the current NomCom doesn't provide insight into its  
> prioritization of the candidates, but I'm not certain how it could in  
> some circumstances (circumstances which are more common than one would  
> expect).

I didn't think the NomCom would be able or willing to comment on
the qualifications of a specific would-be candidate.  Nor was I
asking that.  But, prioritization of would-be candidates based on
the would-be candidate's availability to serve during the term
or potential conflicts, are both perfectly legitimate, and in my
opinion there should be no problem with listing them in an
explanation of what criteria the NomCom considers when it decides
to accept or reject a candidate.

> Making the NomCom a body which simply approves all Nominees  
> (unless completely defective) means we lose the "evaluation" portion  
> of its charter.  Hence, the suggestion that all nominees get carried  
> forward, but the Nomcom provides (or not) its endorsement of the  
> nominee based on their ability to serve productively.  Other  
> suggestions are welcome, including the possibility of having the  
> community vote on candidates without having consideration of any  
> information from the candidate which would need to be treated in  
> confidence.
> Thoughts?

I still think what is called for here is transparency of the
-criteria- that is used by the NomCom when determining whether
a candidate meets qualifications for serving.  I just don't see
anything in either of your explanations that is so unique that it
could not be covered by a criteria list.

All the NomCom needs to do is produce a document that lists criteria
that they use.  They can either distill their experience into a
list, or they can do as you did here and illustrate the ideas through
use of hypothetical examples.  Either way, publishing the criteria used 
to make the determination allows the community to judge if it's 
arbitrary or not.

In a way this is similar to a job hiring situation.  A lot of managers
out there who get thrust into position of being the interviewer to
evaluate job candidates for the first time, might feel that when they 
start doing the interviewing, that the interview process is arbitrary 
and what they are doing is arbitrary.

However, if you talk to any manager who has had many years selecting
employees they will tell you that they have used their experience
doing this to put together a list of criteria they look for.  That is
why experienced mangers can blow through a stack of 200 resumes in a
short time - because they aren't making arbitrary decisions on each
one, they are using a template of a summary of criteria to see if
the candidate matches or not.

I'd submit that if the current NomCom is afraid or feels that they
are unable to distill their current "process" into a criteria list,
that they simply haven't had much experience in selecting candidates.
Forcing them to go through the exercise of doing this might very well
cause each of them to have a lot of personal growth and make better
selections for us in the future.

I'm not telling you anything that a management consultant wouldn't
tell you.  People have made piles of money writing books on this


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