Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

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Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

Post by hesskristina » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:56 pm

I'm a GSR with an AA group in a small ski town. 9 meetings a week and all 7th tradition money, treasurer, GSR, supports all 9 meetings. There are 2 sisters here who have run the show for twenty-some years. They are not happy with change but our group is getting bigger and some of us have moved here from larger cities where AA was run very closely to the traditions.

We rent a room at a local church. The sisters are members of the church. One is the treasurer and took it upon herself to give the church $400 over and above the rent we pay without telling the rest of the group. The business meeting said that was not appropriate and it was later deducted from the next rent payment. Then she told the church to ask us for more rent without discussing it at a business meeting or a group conscience. Their reasoning is that the rent hasn't increased for awhile.

We pay approximately $10 per meeting. Some meetings only have 4 people and others have 15. My feeling is that if the church needs more rent, they need to ask us...not have a member prod the church to ask us for more rent.

We explained that no additional funds can be spent without the discussion and voting of the business meeting or group conscience. They say since they've been here so long, I need to understand how things are done.
Any help or direction to printed materials would be helpful.

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Re: Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

Post by MyNameIsBetsy » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:29 pm

Hello hesskristina, welcome. You've got a challenge there in your small ski town.

Some thoughts:

1) It's your decision whether to get involved, or not. If you are strong in your sobriety, it might be worth asking some questions. But if you are still relatively new or sensitive to other people's comments, these group financial controversies are resentments-ready-to-happen. Perhaps you might spend some time in prayer and meditation before you decide which direction to go.

2) Is your sponsor part of this group? Your sponsor would be an excellent sounding board for your concerns, and might know more of the history.

3) It sounds like the people in the business meeting are aware of the issue. You might go to the next business meeting and humbly discover if there is a side to the story that you might not know. Being at the business meeting would give you the opportunity to ask questions and express your concerns.

4) You might volunteer for treasurer yourself. This would be a sure fire way to make sure 7th Tradition funds are spent according to the group conscience.

Good luck.
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Re: Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

Post by Brock » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:30 am

Welcome here and thanks for an interesting question, I saw it yesterday but couldn’t figure a good answer, mainly because AA’s traditions and concepts are written in a sort of we should do this, or it’s best practice to do this or that, there are no ‘musts.’

I live in the Caribbean, and there are many small meetings, some with folks like these, who not only don’t understand the traditions and concepts, but are not interested in learning or following them. When I have shown them these things, I have been told it says we should but not we must, and they have been doing things their way for many years, and the group has survived just fine. I found it hard to accept, so for the last few years have no home group, I still attend the intergroup as an observer, and am chair of the literature committee, I keep the literature at home and deliver to various groups as needed. Not having a home group does not mean we can’t be of service, and I am far more serene not trying to convert those who don’t want to hear.

I do admire members like yourself who stand up for what’s right, things like telling the church to ask for more rent, as a sort of revenge for others questioning the decision to grant a $400 gift without approval was just plain nasty, that’s against everything AA stands for. As usual I like Betsy’s ideas on the matter, try not to form a resentment over this, and best of luck.
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Re: Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

Post by hesskristina » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:17 am

Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions. and yes, the resentment is there. working on that for sure

I've got long term sobriety and come from larger towns and have served on boards of central offices and know that how they do things here is probably because they don't know the traditions or concepts and how things are done in AA. (I was asked why I was such a "rule follower") And also because they are used to people not standing up to them when they decide things on their own. My concerns started when I asked for a treasurers report at a business meeting and they didn't have one but they thought they had around $5,000 in prudent reserve...yes you read that right. They'd made, over the years, very meager distributions to district, area and GSO, maybe $100 every quarter...Luckily there were 2 others at the business meeting who'd moved form larger cities and had been in AA GSR position before and I was supported. My sponsor isn't here but I've discussed this with others who are pretty experienced with concepts.

Luckily, their treasurer commitment is over and they're meeting at the bank this week with new treasurer and me to transfer the checking account over to us. They will not have check writing authority any more. I'm meeting with the church to explain how, if they decide to raise our rent, that is handled in AA and that if they have any concerns about anything, they are to discuss it with me as I'm the GSR now. We will look at budget, see how much we can afford while still trying to pay expenses and make the customary distributions to district, area and GSO. I hate to put the church in this position but I'll explain how it should work with this group. That any financial decisions are made with business group and group conscience.

Small town dynamics. learning a lot

thanks again

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Re: Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

Post by Layne » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:44 am

It is funny, I usually think that the larger the number of people that are involved in a situation, the more sideways it goes. Certainly not the case in this one. Goodatcha for getting involved and helping steer things back on track. Principles before personalities.

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Re: Inappropriate Spending without Group Conscience

Post by positrac » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:56 am

Wow people, egos are at work with those sisters in your community!
This topic is one that can become extremely resentful laden and someone is going to go away mad and even might get drunk!

As a GSR I have to inquire about other locations in your community? Why do you/they have to keep the meeting in that church alone?

I am really expressing that if the sisters aren't willing to follow bylaws and remain compliant then split. Feelings are going get hurt in whatever direction is decided on. Also new people have to be willing to be able to step up and fill the gaps and it seem those sisters have filled the gaps and have made many things more to their liking and less to others. if no one ever questions then it is ok; right?

Gossip is another area of excess and I hope that people can find that it is not necessary and that it only hinders healing.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

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