Four of ICANN's founding "interim" board members who were due to resign when their terms expired have been granted another extended period in office, the organization announced today.
In 1998 ICANN promised that that all members of the original "interim" board would have been replaced by September 30 elected members this year. Now the appointed members Frank Fitzsimmons, Hans Kraaijenbrink, Jun Murai and Linda Wilson will be in place for another twelve months.
"We knew this was going to happen," newly elected At Large board member Karl Auerbach tells us, "We just didn't know who it was going to be".
"Staying on past your original term says you are a Board Squatter," notes Michael Froomkin of the University of Miami law school in a sharp rebuke.
He told The Register today: "This is not about the directors personally: but that ICANN promised in their bylaws to have an election for all of them by now. They voted to amend that, and the amendment was drafted on the spot and passed on the spot."
In fact, he points out, ICANN not only promised that all of the original board would have been replaced by elected members by now - in the end only five positions were made available in the At Large Membership elections - but ICANN specifically mandated that the outgoing members would have to serve a two-year "cooling off" period before they could be eligible to return for board duty.
The rules were changed, notes today's ICANN statement, at meetings in Cairo and Yokohama in March and July this year. The reasoning hasn't been published according to Froomkin, although Auerbach has seen a printed statement and describes it as "totally incomprehensible."
And the "ghosts" who will sit alongside the elected members could be around for some time to come. As Froomkin points out, the "interim" appointed members could be there after elected members such as Auerbach and Andy Mueller-Maguhn have served their terms of duty.
"Hans Kraaijenbrink has been anti-election and anti democratic process for so long now. I'm really ticked that they're doing this," says Auerbach.
ICANN had not replied to our request for comment at time of posting this article ®