The chairmanship of the Episcopal Assemblies is key because it is the chairman who basically set the agenda for the work of the Assemblies. In other words the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be deciding what can and cannot be discussed and what direction discussions may take.
The bishops of Chambesy while allowing the bishops in a region to discuss Orthodox unity, are not leaving it solely to the discretion of the local bishops how to inact or implement that unity. Here the Ecumenical Patriarch has reserved the right of final say for himself and apparently he will have veto power over the decisions of the Episcopal Assemblies.
In his analysis, Fr. Ted also points out that there is a fundamental understanding about church and state relations in the United States that may not be fully comprehended by Old World bishops:
Orthodox bishops wear the garb of imperial Byzantium obvious in the miter they wear. Yet in America bishops do not represent the interest of the state, the state is forbidden from influencing the election of bishops or the policies of a religion. Orthodox bishops however have often acted like national ambassadors to the American government, and seem to love having photo opportunities with American presidents as if they as bishops were in fact government representatives rather than Christian bishops.
Orthodoxy must embrace a totally new attitude toward the new world. Of course one would think at this point in its own history the Ecumenical Patriarch might be willing to consider giving up any imperial pretentions as well as imperial dress and insignias considering their own existence in an officially secular, but de facto Muslim state, in favor of other dress that might be more appropriate to our being disciples of Christ in the non-Byzantine world. Perhaps the Turkish state would not allow such a change in the Orthodox leadership in Turkey and prefers to remind the Orthodox bishops through their dress that they in fact are the last representatives of a defeated empire.
The real question for all Orthodox is whether we will work through the Episcopal Assemblies to assure that Christ is the head of our Church and not just limit headship to men even if canonically correct.