I was checking my copies of "Crisis of Conscience" and "Apocalypse delayed". According to James Penton, the Governing Body was ALWAYS supposed to be a mere administrative body. It was created after Ray Franz and others were given authority to prepare the "Aid to Bible Understanding" and they questioned the fact that the congregations were run by "little dictators". Apparently many witnesses felt uncomfortable with this, and then Knorr gave in and accepted the creation of a body, without giving any real powers to it. Over time, however, it became more powerful.
Many decisions made by the Governing Body back then, however, do not seem administrative to me. I don't think that a decision on, say, disfellowshipping someone because he had oral sex with his wife is an administrative matter. It feels to me that it's a matter of doctrine. The two should have never been confused. Matters of doctrine should have been handled separately from matters of, say, how many chairs one has to buy for a new Kingdom Hall. And it should be self-evident that no one should have the authority to send someone off to hell. Disfellowshipping is wrong not just because of the pain it causes, but for the enormous power it gives to a few men.
To me, this shows the dictatorial nature of the Governing Body. It was supposed to be a way to control the power that until then had rested on one man only, but things just went from the power of one single man to the power of a group of men, someone among whom is more equal than the others (hiya, George Orwell!). These men have all the power in their hands, even if they have to share it among them. I wonder if the situation was ever any less dictatorial at lower levels. I don't know about this, but, would a branch representative have any checks and balances? Could anyone complain about what they do? Would a real inquiry be made if someone accused a branch representative of abusing his power?
I'm sure Ray Franz saw this, too. I remember he wrote that the matter with the Governing Body is not who are the members, but, rather, the role those members are expected to play. I don't remember where he wrote that, but I know I read it.