ICANN Budget Freeze, Uncertainty in Revenues, US Politics, IANA Transition, Volunteer Fatigue

Interesting topics discussed at the June 24th meeting in London between ccNSO and ICANN Board, according to the released transcript--ICANN budget freeze, uncertainty in ICANN revenues, U.S. politics and the IANA Transition, as well as ICANN volunteer fatigue due to the ongoing ICANN accountability and IANA transition processes--

ccNSO Meeting in London - Audio & Transcripts | Country Code Names Supporting Organisation:
LONDON – Board with ccNSO, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 – 09:45 to 10:45, ICANN – London
Meeting excerpts (begins at  Page 17 of 33, emphasis added):

ROELOF MEIJER: And, Fadi, you shouldn't see this as an attempt to raise a discussion about how you forecast your revenues.  It's more a warning on the fact that this is a forecast; and if we look at the budgeted costs, there's a risk that the cost increases faster than the revenues.  That was the message that I wanted to get across.

FADI CHEHADE: Absolutely. That point is well‐taken. And just to be clear, I have frozen the budgets of all departments of ICANN effective June 30th for the entire next year except the three areas that convinced me we need to invest a little more because we have invest ‐‐ frankly, we have a deficit of investment: I.T., compliance, and the new GDD division that has to grow with the growth of the new gTLDs. But everything else has been frozen: Engagement, every other area. Legal wanted ‐‐ everybody wanted more. We froze it. It is completely frozen. So the spend level they have on June 30th, zero dollar increase past June 30th for the next fiscal year. So I am cognizant ‐‐ someone yesterday said, I think we had to grow ICANN to deliver a certain level of services. But it's time to start curbing that growth, partly to deal with uncertainty in revenues. We don't want to have a rosy picture of revenues and find ourselves in a difficult place. So keenly aware of that. And I really appreciate it because I think as CEOs, we certainly should not fall into the trap of seeing the cost line continue to go up based especially on uncertainties on the revenue side. So you have my commitment to watch for that. I'm already starting the curbing across most departments and will continue to do that next year....

BYRON HOLLAND: And I'm sure you've already heard the commentary about volunteer fatigue. When we look at the various threads here, be it the steering group, whatever the final shape of the accountability process looks like, there's currently also a separate but related cross‐community working group on Internet governance. There is a cross‐community working group on the IANA transition taking shape right now. But just asking ‐‐ asking ICANN to be ‐‐ to recognize that and to do everything that ICANN can to try to mitigate volunteer fatigue....

BECKY BURR: I just want to say in case anybody is under any misconceptions about this, the CC [ccTLD] community is quite aware of the deadline [September, 2015, for the IANA transition] and the need to get this done and those of us who follow American presidential elections know very well why that's critical. I ‐‐ and I understand the balance, but I think that you guys have put it in our court. It's now up to us. You guys have to give us the opportunity ‐‐ it's going to take some hard work to get this going and to take responsibility for it. But that's what has to happen now. And any chance ‐‐ any effort to sort of control the timing is going to backfire.

FADI CHEHADE: Let me be careful. I didn't say we are controlling the timing. I was pointing to the fact that your community [ccTLDs?] is not monolithic on this issue. There are people within your community who would like the transition to never happen. There are people in your community who want to slow it down until it's maybe the Republicans running the U.S. government. There are people in your community who would like it to happen yesterday. So your community is not monolithic on this issue, and therefore, we have to also be careful, as you are coming back to us with varying inputs, that we understand, you know, how to keep this thing balanced with the other communities who will be affected by this transition as well. So this is our role, not as staff but as a coordinating committee by our ‐‐ I meant the coordinating committee….

CHRIS DISSPAIN: Byron, can I just clarify? Jay, I understand what you are saying. I think what ‐‐ I think what Fadi meant was "the" community as opposed to "this," specifically the ccTLD community. So within the wider community there are people who do not want this to happen. Within the wider community there are people who want to slow it down, speed it up, et cetera. So I think ‐‐ I think he said your community. But I think he meant the community generally....

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