Sunday, 30 December 2012

Q: what happens if we disagree with how the secretary is running the meeting?

The key principle here is Concept III:

III. To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of AA—the Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and executives—with a traditional "Right of Decision."
This means that the secretary can discharge his duties as he sees fit.

The checks and balances reside in Concepts I, II, and X

I. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for AA world services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.
II. The General Service Conference of AA has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole Society in its world affairs.
X. Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined.

This means that the group may define clearly what the scope of a secretary's authority is. Tradition IV would suggest that groups may be very prescriptive or very permissive. Most are the latter. Tradition IX suggests not being over-organised, and this principle is, in general, liberally applied.

If something goes wrong, Tradition XII comes into play. It usually does little good for the group to hammer down on the officer for exercising his discretion in such a way that others do not happen to like. If he was within the bounds of the authority given, hard luck! Only if the secretary exceeded the authority granted or went beyond the scope stipulated are there any grounds for criticism, and then only with reference to the established principle of what the role requires. Concept XII would suggest not making such discussions punitive in any way.

If there is consensus that the secretary be given less discretion and be directed in a particular way, then that is a group conscience matter (or steering committee matter, as the group decides). The discussion then is one of how things should be going forward, not on how things were done differently the past. It is important not to criticise someone for rightly exercising right of decision in accordance with their own conscience in the absence of specific direction.

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