Please find below an update from the RIPE Nominating Committee. Three of the NomCom members answer some of the questions you might have about the next steps in the selection process.
Q: What has changed since Hans Petter Holen has withdrawn himself from the selection process?
Joe Abley: The list of nominees has obviously changed because Hans Petter is no longer on it, but what remains is still a high-quality list of candidates and the process we're following is more or less unchanged. However, we think it makes sense to install the selected Chair and Vice-Chair earlier than the original timeline we were following.
Daniel Karrenberg: While we originally wanted to wait until RIPE 81 before transitioning to the newly selected Chairs, it doesn't make much sense now. We will now aim for the transition to happen as early as practical.
Q: With the RIPE meeting going virtual, will the NomCom be able to make a selection?
Joe Abley: I am very confident that we can make a good selection, we're just going to have more work to make sure that it accurately represents what the RIPE community wants. If we were all meeting in Berlin there would be many opportunities for all of us to hear from people over beer, in the corridors or at social events. Getting the same exposure to people's opinions at virtual meetings is a challenge. We encourage anybody with an opinion to send it to us, in complete confidence, at <email@example.com>.
Rob Evans: Also, as everything is happening online, it gives community members that won’t have been able to come to the RIPE Meeting the opportunity to provide us with the same kind of feedback and that puts everybody on an equal footing.
Q: How COVID-19 has impacted the work of the NomCom?
Daniel Karrenberg: From the beginning, we had planned to work by teleconference. Personally, I was looking very much forward to going to Berlin and get face-to-face feedback from the community. There is something in a physical meeting that a teleconference can never fully replace. People communicate differently in informal meetings. The NomCom can definitely function as planned despite the pandemic even though it might not be as much fun.
Q: When will we know who is the new RIPE Chair and Vice Chair?
Joe Abley: We expect to have selected candidates by 15 June.
Daniel Karrenberg: We are committed to work faster than planned but we also want to take enough time to do things right. Therefore, together with the RIPE NCC Executive Board we aim to have confirmed candidates by the end of June. This will enable them to arrange for an earlier-than-planned transition with Hans Petter.
Q: What will the new RIPE Vice Chair do exactly?
Daniel Karrenberg: The only formal requirement is that the Vice Chair takes over if the Chair is no longer able to perform their duties. Other than that, both persons have great freedom to divide their work. Formally, this happens by way of the Chair delegating some of their responsibilities to the Vice Chair. The NomCom will discuss this with the nominees and strive to select a team instead of two individuals.
Rob Evans: Part of this delegation of responsibilities may include sharing what might be an onerous travel burden. That in turn might allow companies that would have had a hard time justifying releasing an employee for that amount of time for one of these roles to change their mind.
Q: Will the RIPE Chair and Vice Chair be compensated for time and expenses?
Daniel Karrenberg: RIPE Chair expenses have at first been covered by their employer: in Rob Blokzijl's case by NIKHEF - thank you NIKHEF - and then by the RIPE NCC. The time spent by the RIPE Chair has always been covered by their employer - thank you again NIKHEF and thank you VISMA - and partly by Rob Blokzijl and Hans Petter - thank you both!
How the RIPE Chair is funded is a question that has been raised before by Erik Bais and others. We have also had this question from some of the nominees. The ‘obvious’ source of funding for this is the RIPE NCC because it already collects funds from its membership which has a substantial overlap with the RIPE community. On the other hand, the community has always wanted RIPE to be independent from the RIPE NCC. The RIPE NCC funding the RIPE Chair has the potential of compromising this independence.
We also have to recognise that the time commitment of the role is substantial and that the RIPE Chair has also to earn a living. So they will be dependent upon an income from somewhere with all the consequences of that, including their own conflicts of interest.
As the NomCom Chair, I am discussing this topic with the RIPE NCC Executive Board. The board is willing to allocate a sufficient amount of money. They are also struggling with maintaining the independence of the RIPE Chair. Also, the board doesn’t want to be in a position where it has to fire the RIPE Chair, that should be the community’s job. Luckily, we have done our homework and defined a procedure for that in ripe-728 under ‘Recall of Serving Officials’.
While some of the details need to be worked out, we have a viable funding plan. Of course, there may be other ideas on how to organise this and maybe some community members will come up with another plan and corresponding funds?
Personally, I believe we should also have the opportunity to fund the time of the RIPE Vice Chair taking into account their share of the work.
Q: How exactly will the NomCom make their selection?
Joe Abley: The individual members of the NomCom are a convivial bunch and mildly allergic to formality, as you'd expect from a group that aspires to represent the RIPE community. We expect to have an ongoing, open and candid discussion to explore all of the aspects of the decision that we think are important, and that discussion will guide us towards a decision. If the guidance looks clear and unambiguous, we might well come up with a unanimous decision naturally in the course of that discussion. If there's no unanimity, the decision will be made by polling the voting (non-liaison) members.
Daniel Karrenberg: We have four well respected members of the community to choose from. As the NomCom Chair, I will lead a thorough, frank and private discussion of all nominees and the possible teams of Chair and Vice Chair. I will aim for a consensus decision to select the best team for RIPE. In my experience, this is an achievable goal.
Q: What will the NomCom be doing in the coming weeks?
Joe Abley: We have received lots of good information from all nominees, describing their vision of what the roles of RIPE Chair and Vice-Chair mean to them. We will have the opportunity to talk to them all virtual-face-to-virtual-face in the coming weeks as well. We continue to get good feedback from the community about the roles and about particular candidates, and all of this together gives us plenty to work with in advance of making a decision in June.
Rob Evans: More feedback about the candidates is obviously welcome to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Daniel Karrenberg: We will listen to the community and make our decision. Let me say two things about community input:
- First, we have received some anonymous input. It is very difficult for me to process such input because it could be anyone talking to us multiple times. We keep all input confidential. If you are concerned about your input becoming known to other people than the NomCom, contact any member of the NomCom privately so that we can take special precautions. But please do not remain anonymous!
- Second, let me stress that this is not an election. Telling us simply 'I support X' is not very useful. The NomCom will not 'count up' such messages of support. Please tell us why you think we should make a particular selection. We have received some input with clear arguments for a particular combination of Chair and Vice Chair. Those are extremely useful.
If you have any other questions or suggestions, please feel free to use the comments field below.