Final responsibility and the ultimate authority for A.A. world services
should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole fellowship.
When, in 1955, the A.A. groups confirmed the permanent charter for their
General Service Conference, they thereby delegated to the Conference
complete authority for the active maintenance of our world services
and thereby made the Conference - excepting for any change in the Twelve
Traditions or in Article 12 of the Conference Charter - the actual voice
and the effective conscience for our whole Society.
As a traditional means of creating and maintaining a clearly defined
working relation between the groups, the Conference, the A.A. General
Service Board and its several service corporations, staffs, committees
and executives, and of thus insuring their effective leadership, it
is here suggested that we endow each of these elements of world service
with a traditional "Right of Decision."
Throughout our Conference structure, we ought to maintain at all responsible
levels a traditional "Right of Participation," taking care
that each classification or group of our world servants shall be allowing
a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility
that each must discharge.
Throughout our world services structure, a traditional "Right of
Appeal" ought to prevail, thus assuring us that minority opinion
will be heard and that petitions for the redress of personal grievances
will be carefully considered.
On behalf of A.A. as a whole, our General Service Conference has the
principal responsibility for the maintenance of our world services,
and it traditionally has the final decision respecting large matters
of general policy and finance. But the Conference also recognizes that
the chief initiative and the active responsibility in most of these
matters should be exercised primarily by the Trustee members of the
Conference when they act among themselves as the General Service Board
of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Conference recognizes that the Charter and the Bylaws of the General
Service Board are legal instruments: that the Trustees fully empowered
to manage and conduct all of the world service affairs of Alcoholics
Anonymous. It is further understood that the Conference Charter itself
is not a legal document: that it relies instead upon the force of tradition
and the power of the A.A. purse for its final effectiveness.
The Trustees of the General Service Board act in two primary capacities:
(a) With respect to the larger matters of over-all policy and finance,
they are the principal placers and administrators. They and their primary
committees directly manage these affairs. (b) But with respect to our
separately incorporated and constantly active services, the relation
of the Trustees is mainly that of full stock ownership and of custodial
oversight which they exercise throughout their ability to elect all
directors of these entities.
Good service leaders, together with sound and appropriate methods of
choosing them, are at all levels indispensable for our future functioning
and safety. The primary world service leadership once exercised by the
founders of A.A. must be necessarily be assumed by the Trustees of the
General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority
- the scope of such authority to be always well defined whether by tradition,
by resolution, by specific job description or by appropriate charters
While the trustees hold final responsibility for A.A.'s world service
administration, they should always have the assistance of the best possible
standing committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs
and consultants. Therefore, the composition of these underlying committees
and service boards, the personal qualifications of their members, the
manner of their induction into service, the systems of their rotation,
the way in which they are related to each other, the special rights
and duties of our executives, staffs and consultants, together with
a proper basis for the financial compensation of these special workers,
will always be matters for serious care and concern.
General Warranties of the Conference: in all its proceedings, the General
Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the A.A. Tradition, taking
great care that the conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth
or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be
its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference Members
shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any
of the others: that all important decisions be reached by discussion
vote and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference
action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy;
that though the Conference may act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous,
it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the Society
of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will
always remain democratic in thought and action.