Some Groups have no Chair because the Secretary serves as the Group’s principal officer. In practice, it doesn’t seem to matter which Group officer does which job as long as they all get done without confusion or conflict. It is however very important for This Guideline is based on the pamphlet The AA Group which shows for new officers, new members and other interested AA’s many of the good and proved-by-experience ways other members have used in their Groups to fulfill our primary purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety”. Everybody to understand who does what.
While one year’s continuous sobriety may be sufficient to undertake some other duties, the Group’s principal officer, i.e. Chair or Secretary should have at least two years’ continuous sobriety and have had other group experience.
• Co-ordinates Group activities, preventing confusion or misunderstanding in Group affairs
• Opens all regular Group meetings then turns them over to a speaker who is leader for that session only
• Has final responsibility for the smooth functioning of the Group and also conducts Group Conscience and Business Meetings.
• Arrives some time before a meeting is due to start in order to arrange the room, usually with the help of other members and the refreshment helpers
• Encourages the meeting to start punctually
• Makes any AA announcements at the end of the meeting (e.g. news of conventions, new meetings, new literature)
• Practices Tradition 7 by passing the pot and then asking the speaker or Chair to close the meeting with the Serenity Prayer
• Keeps a confidential list of those members willing to do Twelfth Step work and passes on any calls for help
• Ensures, with the Treasurer’s help, that the rent is paid
• Helps the Treasurer to count and keep a record of the Group’s collections
• Informs the Intergroup Secretary and GSO of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Group officers, together with up-to-date Group telephone contacts and of any changes in these or in the Group’s venue. In this way the correct information is always available for inclusion in Where to Find AA
• Provides safe keeping for such Group records and correspondence that exist, thus preserving anonymity at all times. In addition, the Secretary, as well as other Group officers, has a special responsibility for seeing that newcomers get help, are made welcome on arrival and receive a starter pack on departure
• Finds suitable speakers for each meeting who have a known period of sobriety, books them well in advance and informs them of the time, date and address of the meeting
• Explains to the speaker the usual format of the Group, e.g. length of the share or discussion and what time the meeting ends
• Tries to visit other Groups in order to book ahead a variety of speakers who are able to present a good cross-section of AA recovery
The job of Group Treasurer is one which requires honesty and reliability. As with any other trusted service, the task should be carefully specified and its measure of authority and responsibility made clear and well understood. Responsibility and a reasonable period of continuous sobriety (preferably at least one year) are important.
• Treasurers should keep good, simple records, which should be open to inspection, should report on the Group finances at least once a month and encourage the Group to talk about financial matters.
• Experience has shown that the use of a current bank or building society account in the name of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Group (see Section 12 of The General Service Handbook for Great Britain, entitled Governance) is recommended for good financial management of the Group funds. The bank statement then provides an additional record of the Group’s finances.
• All cheques should be secured by two signatures (two out of any three duly authorised). Blank signed cheques should never be issued. This is a recommended precautionary measure taken on behalf of both the Group and the Treasurer and applies to cheque payments at all levels.
• Contributions should be collected by passing the pot at Group meetings and the Treasurer should count and record it with the help of another responsible Group member.
• The Treasurer should enter the amount in a cashbook and pay the money into the Group’s bank account at the earliest opportunity.
• After paying the approved expenses of the Group, e.g. rent, refreshments and literature, and retaining a prudent reserve of one month’s running expenses, any surplus should be sent to the Intergroup Treasurer – preferably by cheque and without delay.
• For those Groups who do not hold a bank account, it is recommended that a paying in book is used to deposit funds directly into their local Intergroup account.
• Expenses do not include the use of Group funds for social purposes such as dances, bus trips and birthday cakes. Accumulation of large funds is inefficient, wasteful and a denial of Tradition 7.
The Group Treasurer report should be made freely available to the group at all times along with the receipt from Intergroup.
1) To Collect the monies from the pot, count it (checked by another responsible member) and pay any authorised expenses.
2) Keep an up to date auditable account of donations recieved and payments made eg) rent including receipts.
3) Retaining a prudent reserve of one months rent pass surplus on to the intergroup treasurer at your earliest convenience in a sealed envelope with the following information clearly visible
a) location of meeting
b) day of meeting
c)amount of donation
d) treasurers name
4) The GSR must return the receipt given by the Intergroup treasurer and a copy of the intergroup accounts to the group treasurer to be filed with accounts for a minimum of 12 months and made open to the group on request.
5) The treasurer, chair and GSR should familiarise themselves with the procedures regarding finances as layed out in the guidelines (section 12) which should be available at all groups in the black folder.
GROUP SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE (GSR)
The GSR’s responsibilities are fully explained in Guideline 3.
Bill W said “The strength of our whole structure starts with the Group and with the General Service Representative that the Group elects. By choosing its most qualified man or woman as GSR a Group helps its own future and the future of AA as a whole.” To be chosen to represent a Group is to be given the opportunity to take part in AAs Third Legacy, that of service, and to have the chance to become a trusted servant. The GSR should have at least two years’ continuous sobriety and should serve for a minimum of two years. The leaflet ‘GSR General Service Representative – May be the most important job in AA’ has more in depth information about the role of GSR.
• Experience shows that the most effective G.S.R.s have been active in group, intergroup, or other service, where they have developed a desire to serve, and encountered situations in which the Twelve Traditions have been called upon to solve problems.
• Usually, prospective G.S.R.s have at least two years of continuous sobriety.
• They have time available for district meetings and area assemblies.
• They have the confidence of the group, and an ability to listen to all points of view.
• G.S.R.s attend Intergroup meetings.
• G.S.R.s serve as the mail contact with the General Service Office, and they are listed in the A.A. directories as contacts for their groups.
• They serve as mail contact with their district committee member and with the area committee. • G.S.R.s supply their D.C.M.s with up-to-date group information, which is relayed to G.S.O. for inclusion in the directories and for G.S.O. mailings.
• They are knowledgeable about material available from G.S.O.—new literature, guidelines, bulletins, videos, tapes, kits, etc.,—and they are responsible for passing such information on to the groups.
• They learn everything they can about the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts and are familiar with this manual, the books Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and A.A. Comes of Age, Twelve Concepts for World Service, and the pamphlets “The A.A. Group,” “A.A. Tradition – How It Developed,” “The Twelve Traditions Illustrated,” and “The Twelve Concepts Illustrated.” • They usually serve on group steering committees.
• They work with group treasurers to develop practical plans for group support of G.S.O., such as the Regular Contribution Plan and the Birthday Plan. They encourage the group to support the area and district committees and local central offices or intergroups, and they are familiar with the leaflet “Self-Support: Where Money and Spirituality Mix.”
• They participate in district and area service meetings, and often help with planning for area get-togethers and conventions. Following these events, they make reports to their groups for the benefit of those who could not attend.
• Ensures that the Group has available its own copy of the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous). Orders and keeps the Group supplied with books and pamphlets published by AAand available from GSO
• Puts together selected packs of literature for newcomers and makes sure stocks are replenished
• Ensures that literature is on display and available to members at Group meetings, encouraging members to buy from the collection
• Makes available the current edition of The AA Service Handbook for Great Britain, especially at business meetings
• Passes any accounts for payment of literature to the Treasurer
• Helps the Secretary to circulate AA Service News, convention flyers, notices from GSO, etc.
• Many AA members have reported they get almost as much good out of coffee and conversation before or after a meeting as they do out of the meeting itself. AA members consider sharing over coffee at these times a vital part of AA routine
• Often AA members say they first felt they belonged when they began helping with the chairs, tidying the room, making the coffee and tea or doing washing up. Some newcomers find such activity helps them to talk to other members. For many of us this experience is our first contribution to AA service
• Any expenses for refreshments may be reclaimed from the Group Treasurer
• After each meeting the room should be left clean, tidy and in proper order
Each Group, being autonomous, selects the officers its members feel are necessary for the smooth running of the Group. Group officers usually serve for a year, since the principle of rotation of officers is important in order that each member should be given an opportunity to serve should they be willing. Each nominee is usually approached by other members in the Group and, if he or she agrees, that name is put forward at a business/service meeting, so letting the Group conscience decide the election.