Business Meeting Guidelines
The following are the GROW guidelines for conducting business:
- Proposals to be considered during GROW business meetings should include the following:
- A clear brief statement that summarizes the proposal;
- A rationale that describes why the group conscience decision is needed; and
- Specific language to be presented for discussion and voting in the business meeting (including, as appropriate, language for a job description, form letter, or GROW policy or guideline). This language may need to be modified by the Trusted Servant responsible for the area to reflect the group’s discussions.
- Before submitting a proposal, meeting participants are encouraged to consult with the Business Chair, Secretary, or Steering Committee members to formulate their proposals if they need help. They should also review past Group Conscience Decisions related to the proposal.
- We allow a minimum of three days for discussion, more when warranted.
- At the end of the three-day discussion period, the Chair calls for a vote. Three days are allowed for voting, which can be done either publicly on the list, or privately by sending votes to the Chair. The Chair counts the votes.
- The voting is done by: I agree or I disagree.
- At the end of the voting period, the Chair announces the results of the vote. The group holds to a 2/3 majority to pass or fail any group conscience decision.
- Following the announcement of results, the Chair will ask if the minority wants three days to discuss their minority opinion.
- If yes, then three days of discussion will begin.At the end of the three days of discussion, the Chair will ask if anyone who originally voted for the Proposal (a majority voter) has been persuaded by this discussion to change her opinion. If yes, the Chair then calls for another 3-day voting period. The outcome of the second vote is the determining vote. As in the first vote, the 2/3 majority vote will be observed.If no majority voters have been persuaded to change their opinion, there will not be another vote.
- If the minority does not want three days to express their opinion, there will be no further discussion and there will not be another vote.
- At the end of the voting period, the Business Chair announces the final results of the vote.
- Note: If any item on the agenda has not reached a 2/3 majority vote by the 17th day of the business meeting, the item is tabled and held over to the next scheduled business meeting.
- When a Trusted Servant (TS-A) feels that another Trusted Servant (TS-B) is not meeting the requirements of her position description, TS-A will take her issues to the small Steering Committee (made up of the Business Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers) for consideration. She should not engage with or confront TS-B. The small Steering Committee can choose to bring the issue to the full Steering Committee.The review of TS-B’s performance should be based only on the duties outlined in the position description. If it is found that the complaint is based on different personal working styles, preferences, or infrequent mistakes – and TS-B is otherwise meeting the requirements of her job description, the complaint will be dismissed without informing or involving TS-B. If it is established that one or more of the duties assigned to TS-B is not being met, the small Steering Committee will:
- Assure that TS-B is aware of and allowed to respond to the complaints and, if appropriate, to propose remedial actions to correct problems.
- If TS-B does not propose remedial actions, the small Steering Committee will establish appropriate remedial actions that TS-B can take to correct the problems;
- Establish a timeframe and deadline for remedial actions to be taken and documented;
- If the small Steering Committee has not already elevated the issue to the full Steering Committee, they will inform the larger Steering Committee of the findings, remedial actions, and timeframe;
- The full Steering Committee will decide whether TS-B can remain in the position or should be removed;
- If the Steering Committee decides that TS-B should be removed from the position, they will inform her in writing of their decision. The Secretary will deliver the documented decision to TS-B and call for volunteers to fill the position to the end of the current term.
Guidance About Informed Group Conscience Decisions
(from Alcoholics Anonymous)
What is an Informed A.A. Group Conscience?
“The group conscience is the collective conscience of the group membership and thus represents substantial unanimity on an issue before definitive action is taken. This is achieved by the group members through the sharing of full information, individual points of view, and the practice of A.A. principles. To be fully informed requires a willingness to listen to minority opinions with an open mind.
“On sensitive issues, the group works slowly discouraging formal motions until a clear sense of its collective view emerges. Placing principles before personalities, the membership is wary of dominant opinions. Its voice is heard when a well-informed group arrives at a decision. The result rests on more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ count precisely because it is the spiritual expression of the group conscience. The term “informed group conscience” implies that pertinent information has been studied and all views have been heard before the group votes.
– From the pamphlet,
The AA Group: Where it all begins. 2005, p. 26-77.
A.A. experience has taught that:
Tradition 2: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.
Tradition 4: With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation.* On such issues our common welfare is paramount.
*Now called The General Service Board of A.A., Inc.