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RIPE NCC General Meeting May 2013 – Minutes

1. Welcome, Preliminaries

The RIPE NCC Executive Board Chairman Nigel Titley opened the RIPE NCC General Meeting (GM) at 18:02 (UTC +1) and welcomed attendees.

2. Report from the RIPE NCC

The RIPE NCC reporting for the General Meeting was presented in the second RIPE NCC Services Working Group session at RIPE 66. This took place on 15 May 2013 from 16:00-17:45. General Meeting attendees that were not registered for the RIPE Meeting were welcome to participate in the RIPE NCC Services Working Group session. The RIPE NCC reports were not repeated in the General Meeting.

The reports are available at:
https://ripe66.ripe.net/presentations/249-Report_from_RIPE_NCC_RIPE66.pdf

3. Presentation of the RIPE NCC 2012 Financial Report

The RIPE NCC’s Chief Financial Officer, Jochem de Ruig, presented the RIPE NCC 2012 Financial Report. The presentation is available at:
https://www.ripe.net/lir-services/ncc/gm/may-2013/presentations/ripe-ncc-financial-report-2012

A member said the expenditure on personnel divided by the number of FTEs showed an average cost per employee of EUR 82,000.

Jochem said that figure was the full personnel cost per employee, including wage tax, pensions, health insurance and other personnel costs such as education and recruitment.

A member asked if there would be a continuing trend of lowering the membership fee to try and establish a break-even budget.

Jochem said that the fee was already reduced substantially in 2013 resulting in a membership fee of EUR 1,800 for 2013, which compared to the average cost per member of around EUR 2,100 leads to a structural deficit. However, he noted that because of the substantial income from new members (sign-up fees and service fees) and the additional income from PI assignments, there is a surplus. He said the proposal for the 2014 Charging Scheme was to again lower the membership fee to EUR 1,750.

The RIPE NCC Executive Board Treasurer, Remco van Mook, said the Executive Board was working towards having a reserve of 100% of the total expenses. He explained that this means the reserve equates to one year’s total expenses.

4. Adoption of the RIPE NCC 2012 Audited Financial Report

The formal resolution:
"The General Meeting adopts the 2012 Financial Report of the RIPE NCC."

The RIPE NCC 2012 Financial Report is part of the RIPE NCC Annual Report 2012 and is available at:
https://www.ripe.net/lir-services/ncc/gm/may-2013/supporting-documents/ripe-ncc-annual-report-2012

Voting for this resolution was scheduled to take place under agenda point 9.

5. Discharge of the Executive Board

The formal resolution:
"The General Meeting discharges the Executive Board with regard to its actions as they appear from the Annual Report 2012."

Voting for this resolution was scheduled to take place under agenda point 9.

6. RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2014

The RIPE NCC’s Chief Financial Officer, Jochem de Ruig, presented the RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2014. The presentation is available at:
https://www.ripe.net/lir-services/ncc/gm/may-2013/presentations/charging-scheme-2014

A member asked what the PI assignment charge would be and if it would be for IPv4, IPv6 and ASN assignments.

Jochem said it did not apply to ASN assignments but it applied to PI IPv4, PI IPv6, IXP and anycast assignments. He added that the charge stayed at EUR 50 per assignment.

A member asked what would happen if the Charging Scheme 2014 was rejected by the membership.

Nigel replied that the Charging Scheme 2013 would remain in effect, so the membership fee for 2014 would be EUR 1,800.

A member asked if it would be possible to have a membership fee lower than EUR 1,750 now that there is a substantial reserve in place.

Remco said that this was the first time the budget cycle would be reversed and the cost base would be unknown, which introduces a risk because the planning for the activities for 2014 has not yet taken place. He said the Executive Board would reassess in 2014 and reduce the fee further if it was warranted.

A member asked if there was a figure for the additional income generated by Phase 3 of RIPE Policy Proposal 2007-01.

Jochem said there was no estimated income figure for that phase. He also stated that in 2013 there are approximately 18,000 PI resources charged for by the RIPE NCC, each of them generating EUR 50 each.

A member asked if there was any discussion about the Executive Board’s goal of having a reserve equal to one year’s operating costs.

Nigel said the aim was to have a reserve that equates to one year’s total expenses but with the current strong membership growth it proved difficult to make a loss. He added that the main concern was to ensure that the RIPE NCC was not driven into bankruptcy, which is why the Executive Board has to be careful when reducing fees.

The member noted that ICANN maintains a three-year cash reserve and he asked if there would be any tax implications for the RIPE NCC having a similar reserve.

Nigel said there was no plan to increase to a three-year reserve and this would indeed have tax implications for the RIPE NCC.

Jochem added that the RIPE NCC was currently discussing its fiscal ruling with the tax authorities. He said the current ruling was that the RIPE NCC could accumulate up to three times the service fee, which would currently mean a limit of approximately 60 million.

RIPE NCC Executive Board member Fahad Alshirawi said that the Board chose one year for the reserve because it is a prudent time period and does not take too much money from the membership, but it also allows the Board the flexibility to cope with sudden costs while retaining a financially stable RIPE NCC.

A member asked if the RIPE NCC Activity Plan and Budget would be discussed at this General Meeting.

Nigel said the Activity Plan and Budget is provided to members well in advance of the General Meeting and is normally discussed on the members-discuss mailing list.

The member said there was an issue with the RIPE Database Proxy Service at the end of 2012 because people possibly didn’t notice it in the Activity Plan and Budget. He suggested that all members should read the document. He added that the section on RPKI could be compromised by RIPE Policy Proposal 2013-04, “Resource Certification for Non-RIPE NCC Members”. He expressed his concern that the RIPE NCC might go in one direction with regards to RPKI while the RIPE community might go in another direction. He suggested that a provision be added to the Activity Plan and Budget regarding RPKI for PI users if the policy proposal is eventually passed.

Nigel said there would generally be divergence between what the community decides and what is contained in the Activity Plan and Budget because that document is approved only once a year. He said the Executive Board decided not to add a section on RPKI for PI users until the community reached a decision on the matter.

A member suggested that there could be a five-year plan for the activities, budget and fees to increase efficiency and reduce fees by 10% over the next five years.

Nigel said that the fees had already been reduced by roughly 10% in one year for 2013.

Remco said the cost per member had also decreased by approximately 10% in 2012.

A member said he would like the Executive Board to propose a Charging Scheme that would allow the membership to vote on making a real loss. He said the money was just sitting in the bank and this was not useful for anyone.

A member responded to this point, saying he was confused as to why a business entity such as the RIPE NCC would actively try to make a loss. He said spending the money for business purposes to reduce the reserve was one thing, but voting to turn a relatively efficient organisation into an inefficient organisation seemed counterintuitive. He added that he was unsure what the problem was with having a substantial surplus because if anything unexpected happens, such as litigation against the RIPE NCC or a section of the membership breaking off to form their own RIR, there needs to be money in the bank to pay for this.

Remco noted that the RIPE NCC has also issued a rebate in the past and that this is always available as an option to return funds to the members.

A member said that since the RIPE NCC appeared to have a surprising surplus, the membership should have a long-term view on whether it wanted to reduce fees or increase activity levels.

Nigel said this is something the Board constantly considers.

The formal resolution:
"The General Meeting adopts the RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2014."

Voting was scheduled to take place under agenda point 9.

7. Report from the Executive Board

RIPE NCC Executive Board Chairman Nigel Titley gave the report from the Executive Board. The presentation is available at:
https://www.ripe.net/lir-services/ncc/gm/may-2013/presentations/ripe-ncc-executive-board-report

A member asked what the appropriate action was when RIPE NCC members were placed on the EU list of sanctioned organisations. He also asked if this issue was communicated to the membership.

Nigel said that it had been communicated to the members. He said two such RIPE NCC members had been shut down and one transferred its resources to an unsanctioned member in Iran. He said this was the limit of what the RIPE NCC could do in the matter.

A member asked if the Executive Board or the RIPE NCC had a general approach that it takes in these matters or if each case was taken on its merits.

Nigel said the Executive Board reviewed the list of members every year and checked them against the sanctioned list. He said each case is considered separately, although the cases he noted were the only three that have arisen so far.

A member asked what happened with the resources that were held by the sanctioned members.

Nigel said the contractual relationship with the member is terminated and the resources are recovered. He said if the resources can be transferred to someone else then that is an option, but otherwise the addresses must be recovered.

Remco added that the main concern of the Executive Board was to be compliant with Dutch law, in this case the EU sanction list.

8. RIPE NCC Executive Board Elections

Nigel explained that, because he was a candidate for the Executive Board election, he would hand over the conduct of the General Meeting to Executive Board Secretary Christian Kaufmann until the meeting closed.

Christian noted that the RIPE NCC Executive Board elections were for two seats that were being vacated by Nigel Titley and Remco van Mook.

The three candidates were:

  • James Blessing
  • Remco van Mook
  • Nigel Titley

The two candidates who were present at the GM, Remco van Mook and Nigel Titley, introduced themselves to the membership.

Voting for this election was scheduled to take place under agenda point 9.

9. Voting on Resolutions and for Executive Board Seat

Christian gave a presentation on how the voting process works for the RIPE NCC General Meetings. The presentation is available at:
https://www.ripe.net/lir-services/ncc/gm/may-2013/presentations/voting-at-the-ripe-ncc-general-meeting

Fergal Cunningham from the RIPE NCC explained the Instant Run-off voting procedure that is used to elect the members of the Executive Board. The voting procedure is outlined at:
https://www.ripe.net/lir-services/ncc/gm/may-2013/voting-procedure

A member asked if it was possible to vote for just one candidate rather than choosing preferences from 1 to 3.

Fergal explained that this was possible, although the vote could become obsolete if no one achieves a majority on the first round and there is a redistribution of votes.

Christian explained that electronic voting would continue until 14:00 (UTC +1) on Thursday, 16 May, at which point the paper ballots and electronic votes would be counted. He suspended the General Meeting at 19:12 (UTC +1).

10. Announcement of Resolution and Election Results

Christian reconvened the General Meeting on 16 May at 15:45 (UTC +1). He announced the results of the voting as follows:

Resolution A:
"The General Meeting adopts the 2012 Financial Report of the RIPE NCC."

Yes - 279
No - 3
Abstain - 27

The resolution passed.

Resolution B:
"The General Meeting discharges the Executive Board with regard to its actions as they appear from the Annual Report 2012."

Yes - 244
No - 3
Abstain - 55

The resolution passed.

Resolution C:
"The General Meeting adopts the RIPE NCC Charging Scheme 2014."

Yes - 276
No - 16
Abstain - 13

The resolution passed.

Executive Board election voting:

First Seat:

James Blessing - 38
Remco van Mook - 69
Nigel Titley - 170
Abstain - 39

Nigel Titley was elected and retained his seat on the Executive Board.

Second Seat:

James Blessing - 70
Remco van Mook - 199
Abstain - 39

Remco van Mook was elected and retained his seat on the Executive Board.

11. Close

RIPE NCC Executive Board Secretary Christian Kaufmann closed the General Meeting on 16 May at 15:52 (UTC +1).

Important Dates
  • 7 Feb 2013 - Open GM registration
  • 7 Feb 2013 - Call for nominations to Executive Board 
  • Feb 2013 - Open electronic voting registration 
  • 17 Apr 2013 - Publish all GM documents, including RIPE NCC Annual Report and Financial Report 2012 
  • 24 Apr 2013 - Close nominations for Executive Board elections* 
  • 1 May 2013 - Deadline for proxy vote nominations 
  • 1 May 2013 - Deadline for members to propose resolutions 
  • 1 May 2013 - Deadline to publish final GM Agenda 
  • 14 May 2013 - Close registration for electronic voting 
  • 15 May 2013 - RIPE NCC General Meeting May 2013 begins with main meeting 
  • 16 May 2013 - RIPE NCC General Meeting May 2013 ends with vote announcement 

* If there are fewer than three nominated candidates by 24 April 2013, the RIPE NCC Executive Board will nominate additional candidates to ensure there is a minimum of three.