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Correspondence between the IAB and the NomCom regarding IAB liaison appointment, 27 June 2007

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From: Lakshminath Dondeti <>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2007 14:30:50 -0700 
Subject: Nomcom 2007-8:  Request for IAB liaison

I hereby formally request the IAB to appoint a liaison to Nomcom 2007-8. Just as every year, this year we are trying to improve the process in many respects. First among them is to start earlier than before so the nomcom can have a chance to interact with the community at two face-to-face meetings. Please plan to meet the nomcom members in Chicago. The tentative plan is to do candidate interviews at the Vancouver meeting.

Next, in the recent past, some nomcom members have expressed concerns that the liaisons at times may have been overstepping their bounds during the deliberations. It is difficult to confirm that one way or another. To avoid the possibility of such impressions this year, I plan to request the liaisons to follow 3777 strictly: Of specific note is the sentence “Liaisons are expected to represent the views of their respective organizations during the deliberations of the committee.”

I will firmly request the liaisons to not share their personal opinions on candidates during the deliberations; they are to enter their personal feedback just as other members of the community and the rest of the IESG and IAB members do.

RFC 3777 also says “None of the Chair, liaisons, or advisors vote on the selection of candidates. They do vote on all other issues before the committee unless otherwise specified in this document.” My interpretation is that “all other issues” comprise nomcom procedures beyond what has been specified in 3777.

If the IAB disagrees with this, please do let me know immediately.

Thank you.

best regards,

From: "Olaf M. Kolkman" <>
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 15:11:01 +0200 To: Lakshminath Dondeti <>
Cc: IAB IAB <>
Subject: Re: Nomcom 2007-8:  Request for IAB liaison

On 5Jun 2007, at 11:30 PM, Lakshminath Dondeti wrote:

I hereby formally request the IAB to appoint a liaison to Nomcom 2007-8. (…)

Dear Lakshminath,

Congratulations on your appointment as NomCom chair. We are glad to see that you are getting the process started as quickly as possible so that there is sufficient IETF face to face time to get input from the community on functions.

We appreciate you highlighting the concern that liaisons may have, at some point, overstepped their mandates.

Liaisons serve a formal role as a communication channel between their organization and the NomCom. However, Liaisons also have knowledge of the internals of the organizations they represent and therefore the ability to match skill-sets and needs of that organization. Since the liaisons are bound to the confidentiality rules they can provide more input on how the team as a whole would operate than members from the community.

There is at least implicit support for this view of the liaison role in RFC 3777. Specifically section 5 “Nominating Committee Operation” point 9 says:

All members of the nominating committee may participate in all deliberations. The emphasis of this rule is that no member can be explicitly excluded from any deliberation. However, a member may individually choose not to participate in a deliberation.

We interpret this as giving the liaison fairly wide latitiude in what they decide to share with the rest of the NomCom about individuals, orgnizations, and how to best match up the two.

Obviously liaisons can not be involved in the actual voting but that is the only limitation that RFC3777 puts on participations in deliberation. As for the voting on ‘on all other issues’, we interpret that broadly; all issues for which the NomCom needs to vote, except candidate selection, liaisons are to be included. The exceptions are for those cases where RFC3777 instructs only voting by voting members e.g. the vote on the existence of an archive (section 5, 16).

We appreciate that the liaison role comes with a certain responsibility of recognizing what is and is not helpful and constructive input. Also, the liaison has a responsibility to be clear when they are representing their organization and when they are expressing an individual opinion. If there would ever be any doubt about the liaison representing its organization then it would be fair to ask the liaison to clarify the point, and if there is further doubt, to ask for clarification from the organization directly.

Finally, we are confident that Danny McPherson, who will be our liaison, has sufficient experience with the NomCom process to recognize the pitfalls and will work with you to avoid them.

On behalf of the IAB,

–Olaf Kolkman

From: Lakshminath Dondeti <>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 01:10:48 -0700 To: "Olaf M. Kolkman" <>
Cc: IAB IAB <>
Subject: Re: Nomcom 2007-8:  Request for IAB liaison

Dear Olaf, IAB,

Many thanks for appointing Danny as the IAB liaison to this year’s nomcom. I was a member of Danny’s nomcom and got a great introduction to the process through him. We have also had a few differences (in public, if I recall correctly) on nomcom related affairs. All told, I think we understand each other very well and I am confident that we will work well together.

I appreciate your interpretation of RFC 3777, but I submit that the community is best served when the IAB members, including the liaisons, provide individual opinions on how various candidates might fit in the IESG or the IAB and what compositions of membership might work best in the interest of the community, through the feedback and interview processes. The additional face to face time we will have with the current nomcom schedule may help alleviate any past concerns.

Nomcoms do run into special circumstances from time to time and the liaisons’ assistance, especially of people like Danny who have had a lot of experience with the nomcom is very much welcome. As per your note, I will instruct the voting members to seek clarification on whether the liaison is presenting an individual opinion or representing their organization, as necessary.

I will close by saying that 3777 says in no uncertain terms that I work in the “best interests of the IETF community,” that the liaisons are responsible for ensuring that I work in the “best interests of the IETF community” and that the nomcom selects candidates based on its understanding of the IETF community’s consensus of the qualifications required to fill the open positions. I expect that Danny will make sure that I fulfill my role in the best interests of the IETF community.

Thanks again for your support and I look forward to working with you during this nomcom’s term.

best regards,