minutes – Dec 2023 – Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous

Minutes for 12 Dec 2023

Jeff B., Secretary
Jennifer B., Treasurer
Nona C., Vice Chair
Mark M., Technology chair
Terry N., Convention chair
Susan R., Chair

Susan R., the Chair, called the meeting to order and opened the meeting with the Serenity Prayer at 2:02 pm EST.

Review of Officer Board minutes – Jeff B., Secretary

  • Jeff mentioned that the minutes from the 11/16 Officer Board meeting were not ready for review. He stated that they were almost ready and that he would send them out in the next few days.

Guideline review – Jeff B., Secretary

  • Jeff stated that he sent the revised Guidelines to the Board which included the changes based on the questions answered by the Board, the capitalization issues identified by Susan and the changes to the Assembly procedures from substantial unanimity (2/3 majority) to simple majority as stated in our Bylaws.
  • Jennifer pointed out that there are certain situations in our Bylaws that do require substantial unanimity which are not identified in the updated Assembly procedures and the chart. Jennifer had provided the list of those situations in her comments on that section. Jeff stated that he will add a footnote with those situations as identified by Jennifer from the Bylaws.
  • Jeff stated that today we will be reviewing Sections 5 through 7. He stated that Susan had sent him an email about issues with the formatting of these sections, especially the financial section (Section 6). Jeff turned the review over to Susan for her to explain her comments to the Board.
  • Susan stated her concern that the document is not consistent stylistically. She mentioned that the different sections were worked on by different subcommittees and the result was different styles and voices. She mentioned that, in contrast, the current Guidelines are in a single voice. One example that she mentioned was the Financial section which was written in a passive voice which is different than the other sections.
  • Mark stated that we either need to have one person, such as Susan, update the entire document or hire a proofreader. Nona asked whether Susan was willing to make the necessary changes.
  • Mark was concerned that putting the entire document in one voice would be a significant re-write. The Board agreed that regardless the content should not change. Mark suggested that we add a paragraph to the beginning of the document describing how the document was created by different subcommittees and that the document will have different voices in different sections.
  • Susan stated that she could go through the document and fix the capitalization and punctuation errors, but she asked whether the Financial section, written in a passive voice, should be changed. Jennifer stated that the Financial section has more legalese language than the others and legalese is often done in a passive voice.
  • Nona made a motion that Susan change the punctuation and capitalization of the Guidelines document. The motion was seconded by Jeff and the motion passed unanimously.
  • Susan raised an issue with the Committee section, 5.5.1, which currently calls for the inclusion of the purpose and charter for each Committee. Nona suggested that we remove this from each Committee and that the document refer to the website for each Committee in the list. Susan made a motion that the Committee section of the Guidelines document just lists the Committee names and refers to the website for the charter and purpose. The motion was seconded by Jeff and the motion passed unanimously.
  • Susan mentioned that at the Finance committee meeting there was a discussion of changing the term “internal audit” to ”internal financial review.” Jennifer agreed and this change will be made.
  • Susan also had a question as to the meaning of “this amount” in Section 6.3.  Jennifer stated that this text can be changed to “the total amount of prudent reserve plus cash retention” to clarify what is meant.
  • Mark had several changes in Section 7, the Technology Section which he will send to Jeff in an email.

Proposal to Place a Phone Number on the Website – Susan R., Chair

  • Sam, a member of the Technology committee, researched the costs of putting a phone number on the website. He proposed that we make this addition to the website because people over 40 are more comfortable using the phone as opposed to sending an email.
  • Nona stated that she was opposed to this proposal for several reasons including: it would be a restructuring of OIAA as we are an online organization; people could use the phone number for solicitation; that we would need to have volunteers to support the phone line and someone to coordinate these volunteers; and that the calls could be in languages other than English which would be difficult to support. Jeff also voiced his opposition and agreed with everything that Nona stated. He also stated that the cost and time spent would not be worth the benefits. Jeff mentioned that he has been involved with his local Intergroup and obtaining volunteers is a lot of work.  Mark and Jennifer also voiced their opposition.
  • Susan stated that she sent an email to Sam telling him that if he would like to pursue this idea, he should write a proposal and send it to the Board for inclusion on the agenda for a future assembly.

Additional Agenda Items – Susan R., Chair

  • Susan mentioned that Lesliee, the Communications chair, is running a tagline contest and that Carlos D., the Unity chair, has several concerns about the ability to translate the tagline into other languages.
  • Susan asked if the other Board members had seen the new video from the Communication committee, the Role of the IGR, and if we were ready to approve this video. Jennifer expressed a concern about the opening slide which discusses the difference between an IGR and a GSR. The Board agreed that this slide should emphasize the role of the GSR but could have a line stating that the IGR is not the GSR.
  • Nona expressed a concern that the video asks members to send their questions to the IGR Forum but the email is sent to the entire Committee. She asked Mark to change the email on the IGR Hotlist to use the IGR Forum email.
  • The Board took the time to view the video. The Board agreed to send any comments to Susan, and she will forward them to the Communications committee.
  • Susan next mentioned a request that she received to participate in the 2nd International Online convention which was sent to the Board by Carlos P. and Adrian Q. Carlos D., the Unity committee chair, mentioned that we would receive this request and felt that we should focus on the Convention that OIAA and the Unity committee will be holding next year instead. The Board felt that we don’t have the resources to assist with this Convention due to our upcoming events but that we can offer them the opportunity to list their event on our Events page. The Board also felt that there was no need to meet with these individuals.
  • Susan mentioned that Dave W. has scheduled a Safety workshop on the first Saturday of the 2nd month of the quarter for the entirety of next year (Secy. Note: The dates for these workshops will be 2/3, 5/4, 8/3 and 11/9).
  • Susan mentioned the request from Barry M. to distribute a survey request from the General Service Board Trustees’ Literature committee on how the Fellowship views changing Bill W.’s writings. Mark stated that he talked with Susan but understood Jeff’s point of view, so he was ambivalent. Nona expressed concern about labeling the survey a “General Service” survey because of the other General Service Offices around the world.  Susan expressed concern that the survey was not sent to OIAA but was sent to the Area Delegates. She felt that this was taking us “out of our lane.” Jennifer commented that she agreed with Susan and that we should not blur the line between our Intergroup and GSO.

Secretary report – Jeff B., Secretary

  • Jeff mentioned the dates that he, Susan and Nona had talked about for the 3 Guideline sessions to review the still-to-be approved Guidelines with the membership. The dates will be the 2nd and 4th Saturdays in February (2/10 and 2/24) and the 2nd Saturday in March (3/9). The meetings on the 2nd Saturdays in February and March (2/10 and 3/9) are considered US/Canada friendly time and will be held at 12pm EST (9am PT, 10am MT and 11am CT). The International time-friendly meeting will begin at 10am UK/Portugal time which is 11am in Central Europe, 3:30pm in India, 6pm in China/Philippines, 7pm in Japan and 9pm in Australia (AEST). Nona mentioned that translators will be required for these sessions. The suggestion was made that Jeff send out an email asking what language translators the membership will require for the International session. The US
  • Susan asked about whether Jeff intended to survey the membership before the end of the year. The Bylaws state that the Membership needs to be polled on a yearly basis. Jeff stated that he will undertake a survey of the Membership before the end of the year. Mark volunteered to reach out to Barry to determine how he conducted the poll in June of 2022.
  • Jeff stated that he has begun work on gathering the documents for the Board Book. He mentioned that as a first step, he reviewed the list of documents sent by Nona and created a spreadsheet, which he emailed to the Board, with that list of documents. He stated that he categorized the documents into 3 categories: General, Financial and Key Corporate documents.
  • Jeff stated that he created a Board Book folder on the Board drive with two subfolders, one for Financial documents and another for the Key Corporate documents. The General documents will be kept in the main folder. One of the General documents is a Board Contact list and jeff mentioned that he sent out a spreadsheet for the Board members to fill out with their contact information.

Technology Report – Mark M., Technology Chair

  • Jennifer asked about the status of the RFP for a special website worker. Mark stated that he is looking for 5 proposals but a minimum of at least 3. He said that expects to receive 2 proposals this week.
  • Mark announced that we will be holding an OIAA Holiday party on Dec. 20th .

The meeting closed with the Responsibility Declaration at 3:29 pm EST.


Motions Summary

The following motions were voted on and approved by the Board at this meeting:

  1. Nona made a motion that Susan change the punctuation and capitalization of the Guidelines document. The motion was seconded by Jeff and the motion passed unanimously.
  2. Susan made a motion that the Committee section of the Guidelines document just lists the Committee names and refers to the website for the charter and purpose. The motion was seconded by Jeff and the motion passed unanimously.
  3. Nona made a motion that Susan change the punctuation and capitalization of the Guidelines document. The motion was seconded by Jeff and the motion passed unanimously.

Humbly submitted,
Jeff Bernknopf
OIAA Secretary




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