[ppml] ARIN Board and AC role in the policy process (Re: the "other" policy proposals)

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Sun Apr 8 16:10:55 EDT 2007

Folks -

I'm going to jump in here to make sure that we have clarity
on the role of the AC and the Board in this process.

Per the bylaws, the ARIN AC "shall act in an advisory capacity
to the Board of Trustees on matters as the Board of Trustees
may, from time to time, request involving Internet numbering
resource policies and related matters. "

The ARIN's Board has a slightly different focus, and I'll reference
the ARIN web site for this:  "The Board of Trustees has ultimate
responsibility for the business affairs and financial health of ARIN,
and manages ARIN's operations in a manner consistent with the
guidance received from the Advisory Council and the goals set by
the registry's members."

Historically, we've tried to keep the brunt of the work of policy
formation, review, and advocacy in the AC, and have used the
Board as the control mechanism to make sure that policy process
has been followed and that ARIN is being true to its mission
when adopting policy proposals.

Neither Board members nor AC members become inherently less
knowledgeable as a result of their election and indeed, we want
to make sure that we gain the full benefit of that knowledge once

In the case of policy proposals, it is truly the AC's job to advocate
for proposals, have engaging discussion, and create consensus
positions where such are available.  It is not an easy task, and
I highly recommend that any and all IP resource knowledgeable
people consider running when elections come around.  

The ARIN Board focuses heavily on the fidelity of the particular
policy formation process to insure that full and open consideration
was provided, and slightly less so on the relative merits of the
policy recommendation.  We're also very aware of the need for
balance in conservation and growth per our charter.

The Board has on multiple occasions received feedback that
having Board members directly champion proposals can be
confusing to the community, and can create an impression
that such policy proposals may have "a priori" Board support
(when in fact the Board doesn't even discuss such proposals
until they've become recommendations from the AC...)

As a result of these discussions, the members of the Board tend
to avoid directly sponsoring proposals, and generally step in only
when there's an absence of community or AC people addressing
an important issue.  

With respect to the position of various Board members on a
given proposal,  the preference again is for such statements to
come out during the public policy meeting if asked, but there
is nothing to prevent a Board member from speaking or posting
before that time if they truly feel they're attending to the best
interests of the community.

Apologies for the length, but the subject is both complex and
worthy of explanation.


John Curran
Chairman, ARIN Board of Trustees

At 1:55 PM -0500 4/8/07, Stephen Sprunk wrote:
>Thus spake "Martin Hannigan" <martin.hannigan at batelnet.bs>
>> Should Board Members be proposing, and defending, proposed
> > policies?
>Yes, they should.  We elect people to the BoT and AC on the basis that
>they're smart and understand how this stuff works better than the rest of
>us.  To muzzle them once they get into office, and thus deny ourselves the
>very wisdom we elected them to use, is counter-productive.  I _want_ to know
>what the BoT and AC members think of the various proposals.

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