Q. We are having a dilemma that disturbs some people in my home group. It is a small meeting and we are not getting people to do service. But one person is complaining and she is our Intergroup Rep and not at all our meetings. Is it AGAINST our RULES to have a Treasurer/Secretary for more than 6 months or a year?
Also a big problem just arose with business meeting – we have it during our meeting and one person wants to have it after the meeting. Other members don’t want to stay after for the business. They vote for after our regular meeting so they don’t have to listen to business. My question is who will stay. Is the Secretary required to STAY for the business meeting? The meeting seemed to be working fine before these problems were introduced which didn’t seem to need fixing except for this one person.
A. These issues between group members can be rather upsetting for people. There are no RULES which dictate how an OA meeting must conduct its business. But there is much guidance in the OA Handbook.
I have seen meetings have business meetings within their group time and after the group time. One suggestion which seems to help in either case is setting a time limit on the business meeting. And there are advantages and disadvantages to either within or after. If business meetings are held after a regular meeting only the people who are truly interested in the business will attend and those few have the advantage of being able to make a decision which others might not go along with. The business meeting after a meeting gets right down to business and has no pressure to get back to the “real” meeting. But they do not assist all members in participating in the business process.
I have seen business meetings work very well if they only take 5 – 10 minutes of a regular meeting and then stop. Anything which is not concluded this month can wait until next month. I have also seen business meetings go on for an hour and a half after a regular meeting, but they went much better when there was a 30-minute time limit.
OA really does encourage rotation of service, which means that no one person should hold a specific service position in a group forever. However it is really up to the individual group conscience how long that should be. I think that a treasurer position is one that can have a limit of 2 or 3 years. Sometimes it depends on how much is involved as treasurer, but especially if you have a bank account and have to change signature cards a limit of at least 1 or 2 years is very helpful.
I really do think that it is part of a meeting secretary’s duties to stay for business meetings even if it is after the regular meeting. If a person can’t commit to doing that then they probably should not be the secretary. However I do understand that if someone took on the position believing that the business meetings were held within the meeting and then that was changed, that it could put a strain on the person and perhaps they should give up the position.
I suggest that you refer to the OA Handbook; available in the OA bookstore on www.oa.org. I also suggest that you review the Traditions and the Concepts of OA. Informed and loving group conscience, respect of other people’s views and remember that God is the ultimate authority as reflected in our group conscience.
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