[rfc-i] Who decides on the contracts

Paul Hoffman paul.hoffman at vpnc.org
Tue Jan 4 12:04:43 PST 2011

Greetings again. The model-v2-overview-00 and v2-motivations-00 drafts 
specify how the Production Center and Publisher contracts are reviewed 
and re-issued. The overview draft says:
    RFC Publisher and RFC Production Center contractors are recommended
    by the Series Editor and IAOC after an open RFP process, and approved
    by the IAB.
The motivations draft says:
    [I-D.v2-overview] does not call for any change in the chartered
    responsibilities of the IAOC.  It does explicitly propose to have the
    RSE (as the resident editorial and publications expert) join the IAOC
    when it is reviewing contractor performance, re-issuing of contracts,
    preparing requests for proposals, and reviewing bids.

The use of the words "and" and "join" make it sound like the two bodies 
(the RSE and the IAOC) will have equal weight in the decision and/or 
will have to come to the same conclusion. However, the two bodies have 
very different motivations and therefore could easily disagree. For 
instance, the RSE could want to renew a contract in order to make his 
life easier while the IAOC might want to bring in a bidder who was less 
expensive and lower cost; conversely, the RSE might want to get rid of 
the current contractor because of friction and the IAOC might want to 
renew that contract because they feel the other bidders cannot perform 
as well as they say they will.

It is inappropriate to have two bodies with very different motivations 
"join" to make such contract decisions. The model should choose one or 
the other to be the deciding body. Both choices are viable under 
different assumptions (the "strong manager" vs. the "series 
administrator" roles), but a specification that they must agree can 
easily lead to a deadlock that would have a very negative effect on the 
publication of RFCs.

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