(This 'statement' was presented to the General Service Board, by a then Class B Trustee, on January 30, 1994. After this 'statement' was read, the General Service Board went into Executive Session. None of the material in the statement was discussed. The 20 members of the General Service Board handed back their copies of the 'statement' and refused to acknowledge or discuss the Trustee's 'personal grievance.')
You have in your possession a list of questions that I asked in letters to Ann B. (Ch. of AAWS) in October and George D. (General Manager of AAWS) in November. As of this weekend, I had no answers to those questions. In the interim, several other questions have come to mind but why ask questions when no answers are forthcoming?
I believe that the information I asked for is necessary for the General Service Board to make decisions that so seriously affect the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Without any particular effort on my part, most of the questions have been answered. Some of the information requested may seem extraneous but that is up to the General Service Board to decide what is pertinent and what is not. I do believe that this information should have been given to the General Service Board from A.A.W.S. Inc. as the F...Co. case developed (last litigation suit that A.A.W.S. instigated). Did the General Service Board approve of the initiation of litigation originally? I think not. Further, A.A.W.S. offered no information until the situation was out of hand. Was the decision to divest ourselves of the Circle and Triangle actually arrived at before the General Service Board gave approval?
I have no real desire to dwell on the past. However, if we do not learn from that past, we will more than likely repeat our mistakes. From this past we must glean two things. how has the General Service Board, without their approval, been legally bound by the settlement agreements in both the (circle triangle on birthday chips) case (1990) and the more recent F...Co. case (1993-94). Due to the fact that the General Service Board relinquished their responsibilities in taking jurisdiction on problems or projects that involve A.A. policy, public relations and/or A.A. Traditions and gave their authority to their service corporations, we now have outside entities (the Courts) dictating how A.A. shall set policy. Secondly, how can the General Service Board assure itself that it will not be placed in the same position again?
In April, I made a statement to the General Service Board to the effect that A.A.W.S. was actually making policy decisions that were very much in the purview and, indeed, the responsibility of the General Service Board. Nothing since that statement has changed my mind. We still very much seem to be in a position of the "tail wagging the dog." It is only in routine direction, as far as A.A.W.S. is concerned, that the General Service Board fully delegate their executive function.
We have many Delegates and Areas responding to the concerns of A.A.W.S. actions. These persons that have responded have been variously labeled as "troublemakers," "political lobbyists," being "personally punitive," and so on. In fact, they are very concerned about the well being of Alcoholics Anonymous. Do we no longer respect the Conference Plan that states that the Conference insures that the full voice of A.A. will be heard, whether it represents the great majority or a minority? The business of the General Service Board is not being in service for Alcoholics Anonymous but being in service to Alcoholics Anonymous. We are not here to assure "unity;" instead, we are serving, in an administrative effort, so unity within our Fellowship is possible. Could it be that we may have caused disunity and confusion by not being responsible to matters that could affect the health and growth of the movement?
We have constantly been visited by the panacea of "more and better communication" over the past several years. Nothing has really changed. The General Service Board still labors without information it very much needs to make appropriate decisions. We are responsible for the business of A.A. and that is our Twelfth Step work. If we tend to our responsibilities and give the groups the support they need and should expect, they, the groups, will take care of their job-that is, carrying the message to the suffering alcoholic.
The General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous provides the permanent connection between our society and it's Trustees. It is also more than a connection, it represents the conscience of A.A. world-wide, to which the Trustees are directly accountable. This is the whole "Conference idea." As such, the Board walks the fine line between its legal obligations to outside entities and its ethical and spiritual responsibility and accountability to the Fellowship.
The eyes of many of those concerned look to the General Service Board for its actions and reactions on the current issues. It is time the General Service Board wrest back its authority (both in decision and finance) from its service entities and assume its proper role.
Class B Trustee to the General Service Board