Part Two of A.A. Past, Present & Future

Presentation by the General Service Board to the 42nd General Service Conference - Its outcome.

On Monday night, April 27, 1992, Michael Alexander made a General Service Board's recommendation to the General Service Conference. After much discussion, the Proposal to have the General Service Board directly manage the General Service Office/A.A.W.S. was voted, by 2/3rd of the General Service Conference, to be placed on the agenda of the Conference Agenda Committee.
On Thursday, April 30th, the Conference Agenda Committee recommended to the General Service Conference as stated: "The proposal of the General Service Board to directly manage A.A.W.S./G.S.O. on an experimental basis for nine month not be implemented because it went against the *Spiritual Principles of Concept Eight." This was passed by 2/3rd of the Conference Members and became an Advisory Action. *Concept Eight states, in part, "Since our Trustees bear the primary responsibility for the good conduct of all our world service affairs, this discussion deals with the basic concepts and methods by which they can best discharge their heavy obligations. Long experience has now proved that our Board as a whole must devote itself almost exclusively to the larger and more serious questions of policy, finance, group relations, public relations and leadership that constantly confront it. In these more critical matters, the Board must of course function with great care and deliberation. Here the Board is expected skillfully to plan, manage, and execute.

"It follows therefore, that the close attention of the Board to such large problems must not be subject to constant distraction and interference. Our Trustees, as a body, cannot be burdened with a mass of lesser matters; they must not concern themselves with the endless questions and difficulties which arise daily, weekly, and monthly in the routine conduct of the World (sic) Service Office and of our publishing enterprises. In these areas the Board cannot possibly manage and conduct in detail; it must delegate its executive function.

"Here the Board's attitude has to be that of custodial oversight; it cannot be the executive. Hence the Trustees are the guarantors of the good management of A.A. World Services, Inc. and The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. They discharge their custodial obligation by electing the directors of these services, a part of whom must always be Trustees. By this means, the executive direction of these functions is securely lodged in the active service corporations themselves rather than in the General Service Board."
On Friday, April 31, after much discussion and pressure by some General Service Board members and some of the Conference Delegates, the Agenda Committee again went into session to discuss whether or nor to 'change' the wording of the Advisory Action. There was concern that the part, which states, "because it went against the Spiritual Principles of Concept Eight" put the General Service Board in a 'bad light.'
In fact, one Trustee, from the floor of the Conference, on Thursday, said he would resign if the recommendation, as stated, was passed. Another Trustee told the Delegates from his Region that he, too, would resign if this Advisory Action was left as stated. The was much pressure from some members of the General Service Board and the new General Manager of G.S.O. on Conference Delegates and particularly members of the Conference Agenda Committee to 'change' the wording of the new Advisory Action.
After the Conference Agenda Committee went into session, on Friday morning, the vote was 10 to 1 to change the wording of the Advisory Action. This new proposal, which stated: "The proposal of the General Service Board to directly manage A.A.W.S./G.S.O. on an experimental basis for nine months not be implemented." The Chairman of the Conference Agenda Committee spoke against this change in wording and was the one vote in the Agenda Committee that was to the negative for a change.
With eleven (11) votes to the minority, this newly worded recommendation passed. On a personal note, it is unfortunate that there now stands, in our history, no reason "why" the General Service Conference voted down the General Service Board's proposal. There is, now, no point of reference. The reason "why" this was voted down plays an important role in future recommendations made to the General Service Board and/or the General Service Conference regarding this same issue.