minutes – Mar 2024 – Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous

Minutes for 10 Mar 2024

Attendees:

Beth A., International Trustee

Lesliee A., Communications Chair

JoAnn B., Tampa FL., Visitor

Jeff B., Secretary

Jennifer B., Treasurer

Nona C., Vice Chair

Marcy H., GSR, Visitor

Mark M., Technology Chair

Naterena P-C, Alternate Secretary candidate

Susan R., Chair

Susan R., the Chair, called the meeting to order and opened the meeting with the Serenity Prayer at 2:00 pm EST. Susan welcomed our guests and reminded them to just listen.

Review of Officer Board minutes – Jeff B., Secretary

  • Jeff B. introduced Naterena P-C. as the new Alternate Secretary for OIAA and she was welcomed by the Board.
  • Jeff B. reviewed the minutes from the 2/11 Officer Board meeting. He reported that he received corrections from Susan R., which were made. Mark M. made a motion to accept the minutes as amended which was seconded by Nona C. The 2/11 minutes were approved unanimously.
  • Jeff B mentioned that there was also an Executive Session at the February meeting. The minutes for this session were distributed shortly before the current board meeting. He noted that reviewing the Executive Session minutes from February necessitated changes to the public minutes from January 14 and additions to the January 14 Executive Session minutes. Furthermore, it led to modifications in the minutes presented during last month’s Executive Session on June 20 and creating a separate set of minutes for the June 20 Executive Session. Jeff B stated that all five sets of these minutes were sent to the board members just before this meeting and that they are scheduled for review in next month’s meeting. He also mentioned that some of these minutes would need to be reviewed in an Executive Session during the April meeting.

Treasurer’s Report – Jennifer B., Treasurer

  • Jennifer B reported that the revenues are closely aligned with the budgeted figures for the year, even slightly exceeding expectations. In February, revenues fell short by only $80, but January saw revenues surpassing projections. Expenses have been lower than budgeted, with significant savings attributed to interpretation services and the decision to maintain two Zoom accounts instead of the initially planned ten licenses. Given these trends, Jennifer B. indicated we will likely have excess funds by the end of the year, which will allow for consideration of how these funds might be distributed.
  • Jennifer B informed the board that she has several trips planned for the year, making her unable to attend the combined board meeting and the IGR forum between April 15 and May 2. She also mentioned having trips in July, September, and March 2025, intending to address these closer to their respective dates.
  • Jennifer B reported on the tax return process, noting adjustments were made for the 2022 tax year, which will help facilitate future transitions. The tax return is due by May 15, and without objections, she plans to proceed with the submission. Additionally, she mentioned that the IRS software used for the submission is free because our revenue is under $100,000.
  • Jennifer B also reported on the Financial Review. The review found no anomalies, indicating satisfaction with our financial controls. Consequently, we received a positive assessment of its financial systems and reporting.
  • Susan R. stated she scheduled the financial review report for the June assembly and will invite Erica to present it as recommended by Jennifer B.

Whistleblower and Conduct policy documents – Nona C., Vice-Chair

  • Nona C. reported on the updates to the Whistleblower policy, highlighting the changes made based on cooperative feedback. The term “nonprofit constituent” was changed to “member” throughout the document, reflecting a key alteration aimed at clarity. Additionally, at the request of an international trustee, gender-based harassment and racism were added to the policy under undisclosed conflicts of interest and bullying.
  • Jennifer B. made a motion to accept the Whistleblower policy document. Mark M. seconded the motion. The document was approved.
  • Nona C. also reported on the renaming of a document related to addressing inappropriate conduct within the group to ensure clarity in translation, now titled “Conduct.” She explained that the document is designed to be a best practice guideline for any group within the organization to adopt as they see fit, potentially under a safety and security category.
  • Jeff B. expressed confusion about the necessity of the new conduct policy, pointing out the existence of guidelines on decorum, behavior, an open door policy, and conflict of interest policies already in place. He questioned the addition of this policy and its alignment with the organization’s approach.
  • Mark M. suggested that the policy should come from the Policies and Admission Committee rather than being a board or organizational statement. He emphasized that if the policy applies broadly, it should reflect a general stance for the entire organization, especially regarding conventions.
  • Beth A. agreed with the policy’s content but raised concerns about its directive nature, suggesting that it oversteps in telling groups what to do. She highlighted potential cultural and legal discrepancies, particularly in international contexts, which could complicate the policy’s application at the group level.
  • Jennifer B. proposed discarding the document, concerned that it appears overly governing and might be perceived as the board issuing directives, which she finds problematic.
  • Susan R. concluded that the document would be sent to Jan as suggestions, clarifying that it is neither board-directed nor board-approved.

Review of Convention Committee Charter – Nona C., Vice-Chair

  • Nona C. provided an update regarding the convention committee, stating there is currently no chair and discussions about the co-chair are pending. Despite this, the committee is gaining members. Nona C., acting as the alternate co-chair, has revised the convention charter with the authority to make changes pending approval. The charter outlines the committee’s focus on the international AA convention, including hosting a hospitality suite, which may be some attendees’ first introduction to OIAA. Other potential events include a Founders Day celebration.
  • Responsibilities and qualifications were defined for the positions of committee chair, alternate chair, treasurer, secretary, and committee members, emphasizing experience, sobriety, and service.
  • Mark M motioned to approve the convention committee charter after minor revisions, which was seconded by Jennifer B. The charter was approved unanimously.

Vice-Chair Report – Nona C., Vice-Chair

  • Nona C. directed the board members to the detailed information available in the board drive for her report. She highlighted the upcoming registration for ICOAA and the need for assembly approval for funds allocation. Nona has been filling in where needed and assisting the conventions committee.

Dual Diagnosis meeting discussion– Susan R., Chair

  • Susan R initiated the discussion on dual diagnosis filters by referencing a query raised during an OIAA presentation, highlighting the presence of dual diagnosis meetings on the website, which might not align with traditional AA meetings focused solely on alcoholism.
  • Jan B.’s report was read into the minutes and made available to the Board.
  • Jeff B elaborated on his concerns, noting that dual diagnosis meetings might include discussions on various substances, not just alcohol, which diverges from AA’s focus on alcoholism. He emphasized his support for inclusivity but raised concerns about the scope of substances discussed in dual diagnosis meetings.
  • Jennifer B questioned the nature of the dual diagnosis filter and whether the meetings listed were strictly AA with a specialty in dual diagnosis or if they extended beyond AA’s scope, aligning with Jeff’s concerns about maintaining AA’s focus.
  • Nona C highlighted the rigorous listing process for groups, which includes the tradition statements to ensure they align with AA’s principles, suggesting that the issue may lie with the filter’s naming rather than its intention.
  • Susan R shared her investigation into the dual diagnosis meetings, noting that the few she could attend appeared to adhere to AA principles, with the primary difference being members’ openness about their mental health alongside alcoholism. She suggested that the concern might be more about the filter’s implication rather than the meetings’ content.
  • Jeff B shared his findings after using the dual diagnosis filter, discovering three meetings, one of which specifically designated a day for dual diagnosis discussions. He concluded that the meetings appeared to adhere to AA’s focus and was satisfied that they were listed appropriately in the directory. He plans to attend one more meeting to gather further insights and report back on the inquiry he received.
  • Susan R confirmed her intent to attend additional meetings to verify their adherence to AA traditions. She noted the absence of complaints about these groups, highlighting the careful onboarding process for new groups to ensure they understand and follow AA traditions.
  • Mark M discussed the meeting directory and the use of filters, expressing confusion about the inclusion and application of a dual diagnosis filter. He noted the need to confirm the filter’s origins and consistency with the directory’s submission process, questioning how the meetings were initially listed under dual diagnosis.

Assembly Exit Survey – Susan R., Chair

  • Susan R. raised the possibility of conducting an exit survey for the assembly, particularly regarding the quality of interpretation, and asked Mark M. for assistance in creating one.
  • Mark M. agreed to the task, pending receipt of the specific questions for the survey.
  • Susan R. then tasked Nona C. and Leslie A. with compiling the survey questions for Mark M. as soon as possible.

Mexican Convention discussion – Susan R., Chair

  • She also mentioned a request to list the Mexican convention on the events page and Carlos’s recommendation against it.
  • Jennifer B. disagreed with Carlos, arguing that the events page is for AA events and should list the convention if it meets the criteria.
  • Jeff B. concurred with Jennifer, supporting the idea of listing the event.
  • Beth A. expressed concerns that listing the event might lead to drama due to complexities in organizational relationships within certain countries.
  • Nona C. argued that avoiding controversy is not the organization’s role and that inclusivity for those seeking help should be the priority.
  • Mark M. agreed with the need to maintain neutrality and avoid getting entangled in controversies or vetting every event submitted for listing.
  • Nona C. also briefly mentioned an issue with a professional event that was inappropriate for listing, suggesting that it be discussed further by Susan R.
  • Jennifer B. motioned to list the event that was initially discussed, which Jeff B. seconded. Beth A. abstained from the vote, and the motion passed.

Chair report – Susan R., Chair

  • Susan R. announced plans to include committee reports linked to the membership within the bylaws, allotting five to eight minutes per committee for their presentation. She also mentioned that the agenda would include a financial review report for the membership and requested that no dramatic issues arise that would require additional attention.
  • Susan R. inquired about the board’s stance on accepting corporate checks from a particular group.
  • Jennifer B. responded affirmatively, noting that the individual involved was a member and the board had previously agreed.
  • Susan R. also inquired about a new web servant.
  • Mark M. confirmed the appointment of a new web servant, Carrie K. He advised that website-related communications should be directed to the group email, where the web team can allocate tasks accordingly. He also cautioned that the transition might result in some temporary website issues.
  • Susan R. reported on her ongoing tasks-

Technology Report – Mark M., Technology Chair

  • Mark M. discussed the web service updates and encouraged using the designated email for website matters. He is working on the assembly pages and a registration update form for IGRs. He noted upcoming changes to the meeting directory and communication plans for nearly 5,000 email addresses associated with the directory. He anticipated the random listing of meetings to cause some stress and advised preparing for incoming queries.
  • Susan R. added Mark M.’s mention of a toggle feature for the website to switch between light and dark modes for better visibility for those with low vision, which Mark M. confirmed is currently available.
  • Beth A. raised a concern about a delay in starting a convention meeting due to a room opening issue on Zoom, which Mark M. explained was likely a glitch. He planned to investigate the need for hosts to end meetings to prevent such issues appropriately.

Secretary report – Jeff B., Secretary

  • Jeff B. had nothing additional to report at this time.

International Trustee Report – Beth A., International Trustee

  • Beth A. reported on the convention preparations, stating that there are 54 groups signed up, with nine on the waiting list. A volunteer has been found to organize the tech crews, and Mark has quickly created a registration page, requiring further fine-tuning.

The meeting closed at 4:11 pm EST when the Board went into Executive session.

Motions Summary

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

  1. Mark M. made a motion to accept the minutes as amended which was seconded by Nona C. The 2/11 minutes were approved unanimously.
  2. Jennifer B. made a motion to accept the Whistleblower policy document. Mark M. seconded the motion. The document was approved.
  3. Mark M motioned to approve the convention committee charter after minor revisions, seconded by Jennifer B. The charter was approved unanimously.
  4. Jennifer B. motioned to list the event that was initially discussed, which Jeff B. seconded. Beth A. abstained from the vote, and the motion passed.

Humbly submitted,

Naterena Parham-Cofield

OIAA Alt. Secretary

 

Jeff Bernknopf

OIAA Secretary

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