| THE GENERAL SERVICE OFFICE: CAN IT BE SEPARATELY INCORPORATED?|
In November, 1994, the Maine Area (Area 28) proposed the following to be put on the 1995 General Service Conference Agenda:
"We, of the Maine Area Assembly, propose that:
| 1. In keeping with Tradition Nine - it's principle being a direct link between those served and the AA service entity serving;|
| 2. In keeping with Concept One - it's principle being the exercise of final responsibility;|
the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous be separately incorporated as a wholly owned corporation of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous."
| 3. In keeping with Concept Eight - it's principle being the need to avoid excessive concentration of money and authority;|
Result:THE GENERAL SERVICE OFFICE: CAN IT BE SEPARATELY INCORPORATED? Along with the proposal of the General Service Board, "That the General Service Board directly manage A.A.W.S./G.S.O" (which failed) there was another proposal on the Agenda Committee's docket for the 42nd General Service Conference. The proposal had to do with separately incorporating GSO.
This proposal was given to the Conference (Delegates) Finance Committee. It never went before the Conference; the proposal died in committee.
The main reason for this proposal was a few Delegates had knowledge, before the 42nd General Service Conference, that the Chairman of the General Service Board was going to make a recommendation concerning the problems that were occurring with A.A.W.S. It was also known by these Delegates that proposal would have the General Service Board directly managing G.S.O./A.A.W.S, which the Concepts, especially Concept VIII, says should not be done. A few Delegates were aware of the problems the General Service Board was having and hence, this recommendation from a Panel 41 Delegate from Area 36. It was offered as a counter-solution to the Board's proposal. To the Conference Agenda Committee: This letter is in the form of a request for a presentation/discussion at the 42nd General Service Conference. I will state the topic I wish as a presentation/discussion on then describe the reasons for the request. The topic is: The General Service Office: Can it be separately incorporated? The reasons behind this request are as follows:
| 1. The recent events surrounding the loss of the General Service Manager point toward possible difficulties between the A.A.W.S. Board and the General Service Board.|
a) The General Service Board requiring Wayne P. to report directly to it.
b) The departure of Wayne P.'s leaves questions about how the office is overseen.
| 2. Michael Alexander's remarks at the West Central Regional Forum seem to indicate that the General Service Board will move into a direct management role, rather than an oversight role, which is contrary to the intention of the Board according to the Twelve Concepts.|
| 3. In recent years there has been an unusual turnover in staff members.|
| 4. There appears to be a "business" mentality that is contrary to the spiritual aim of our Fellowship, (i.e. Michael's insistence, at the West Central Regional Forum, that A.A. is 'business.'|
| 5. The focus, in recent years, has been so strongly directed toward publishing that Group Service items suffer from neglect.|
a) The computer system was very poorly handled.
b) An Ad Hoc committee set up to evaluate our directories and group records was unable to make any substantial progress in solving critical communication problems.
| 6. It is my understanding that in recent years the A.A.W.S. Board has developed it's budget without consulting the Trustees Finance and Budgetary Committee. In so doing, it went contrary to the "group conscience' process which is both AA's most successful tool and spiritual base.|
| 7. The seemingly eager willingness to enter into litigation with various entities around the country, without consulting widely prior to entering into this very dangerous activity.|
| 8. What appears to be an ongoing move to merge more and more of the Grapevine functions under the supervision of the A.A.W.S. Board.|
| 9. Finally, the recent actions of the Trustees Nominating Committee in regard to both the filling of the General Managers position and Class A Trustee selections seems to be done in less than AA standards. (supposedly under the auspices of 'business.')|
Bill Wilson notes, in the Twelve Concepts, that we ought always be careful not to place too much money or authority in any one board or committee. I think this may now be the case with A.A.W.S. Our publishing has increased far beyond what Bill envisioned and may well have exceeded a reasonable amount of money and authority for one board.
| My request for a presentation/discussion is made because I believe that the past and current Trustees have been inadvertently put in a untenable position. The enormous load on the A.A.W.S. Board can easily lead to actions and decisions which would not have been taken had the load been less demanding.|
As the publishing has increased, group services have declined. The Conference, Fellowship and Trustees can only apply a certain amount of attention in any one area. Unfortunately, when it comes to A.A.W.S. the publishing takes the vast bulk of the attention, leaving little for the General Service Office.
It is my belief that by separately incorporating the General Service Office it would serve to improve our attention to the matters at hand in Group Services. It would also help clarify staff responsibilities. Once can't help but wonder how the staff can readily decide when to engage in A.A.W.S. matters and when to work on group services. I can tell you right now that there is some confusion between the publication notices the staff member on literature sends out and the ones sent out by the publications department.
This has gone on long enough and does give you a rough idea of what brought about this idea. I would urge that this be a presentation/discussion at this year's Conference. Not only would it give us a look at a possible solution, it would help all of us Delegates better understand the relationship between A.A.W.S. and the General Service Office.
Yours in Love and Service,
Panel 41 Delegate - Area 36
Note: The Trustees' Conference Committee did not put this as a presentation/discussion on the 42nd Conference Agenda. This 'proposal' went to the 42nd Conference Agenda Committee. This proposal was not presented to the 42nd Conference as a 'recommendation.'
The reasons for this were,