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ICANN staff swamped

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2011, 16:13:16 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN’s board of directors is giving its staff and policy-making bodies more work than they can handle.
The GNSO Council yesterday voted to shelve board-requested work on the new top level domains program because no ICANN staffers have the time to help coordinate the project.
Last month, the board asked the GNSO and other constituencies to come up with ideas, before mid-March, about how to measure the consumer benefits of new TLDs after they launch.
But the Council yesterday was faced with having to suspend other policy development, in order to get the required staff support, so decided instead to defer the new work.
A senior ICANN executive at the meeting said that ICANN staff is “not an unlimited resource” and has “no bandwidth to keep taking these projects”.
This has apparently been an issue for over a year.
In this particular instance, the problem project comprised part of ICANN’s obligations under its Affirmation of Commitments with the US government, so it’s not trivial stuff.
As others have noted, sometimes the amount of policy development going on in ICANN can appear overwhelming to outsiders, but it seems that this problem also extends to ICANN internally.

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Comments (5)

  1. Avri Doria says:

    This does not seem a proper response to make. Staff should inform the Board of the incremental cost for doing the required work.
    Staff cannot be allowed to control policy by refusing to its job.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      There are only so many hours in the day.

      • Avri Doria says:

        That is why I recommended that giving an estimate of incremental cost was the proper response.
        The situation may also call for an eternal review of policy staff operations to see if they are efficiently deployed and whether all of the activities being worked on fall appropriately within the policy assistance budget.

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