Group overspent and in debt

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Group overspent and in debt

Post by Slowtime »

Hi guys.

Long story short. Our group overspent on an item and is now in debt. A member who was not solely responsible has fronted the money. Based on our current income, It will take 8 months to repay him. And that's not including rebuilding our prudent reserve.

Naturally we decided that this should be announced before tradition 7 at every meeting. However, we have a few dissenters, saying that those responsible should pay personally, which in my view, is a bit harsh.

It's proving decisive.

Has anyone been in a similar situation?
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by desypete »

what on earth have you spent aa money on that would lead it to end up in debt ?

all monies collected in aa meetings are aa monies not the groups money to spend out on anything else other than for the sole support of the group so it may carry on functioning

the group or the person who has spent this money could be prosecuted for theft if they use the money collected for anything else other than to pay for the groups expenses

its little wonder some people in aa are not happy about it as its misappropriation of funds

so who ever has spent this money should see to it sharpish that the money is repayed out of there own pocket if needs be
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by Slowtime »

It was spent on books and coins. =surprised

Miscommunication between he who bought the books and coins and the treasurer.
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by avaneesh912 »

Seek other groups in the area and see if they can help you out.
Show him the mental twist which leads to the first drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism.(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by tomsteve »

not the 1st time people have proven they are human and made a mistake.
not the first time people have not been happy with what a GC has voiced.
there was a vote at a business meeting for the solution,right?

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.

Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
long form:

The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by PaigeB »

Perhaps the District or Area Literature committee is flush enough to help?

For the coins you are on your own I'd would think ~ I guess because around here the group doesn't buy anything but the cheap plastic poker chips. If a coin is to be given, it is purchased by the sponsor or another AA friend.

Each Group is autonomous.

Your Group and the person who fronted (took an action that placed them in a position to be hurt) the money will have to come to a decision about how amends are to be made.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by Blue Moon »

Emphasis below:
Slowtime wrote: Our group overspent on an item and is now in debt.
Slowtime wrote: A member who was not solely responsible has fronted the money.
This is the Group's problem. The Group needs to own its problem and find a solution. An AA Group should never depend on 1 or 2 people to either pay its bills or bail it out of a problem, as that would be contrary to Tradition 7.

The Group needs to learn: conduct a proper Group Conscience prior to spending any of AA's money, and ensure a regular (e.g. weekly) Treasurer's report. Clearly, the Group failed to do this, otherwise this problem could not have arisen. To hold the Treasurer or the buyer individually liable is simply the Group abdicating its collective responsibility for controlling how AA's money is spent.

Solution: hold the Group accountable. It is indebted to the individual who bailed it out. That's a fact. The Group needs to resolve that fact ASAP. This may include buying no more coffee, cookies, coins or cake until the individual is repaid.
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by positrac »

Interesting topic and one when I collected the 7th I made sure I counted and put it away in the slot as to not get up into anything questionable. The group should of considered a business meeting the moment it found out it was in a jam as to air it out and to come to a firm and yet united decision on how to answer such a situation in the future and document resolution for lessons learned. You'll always have hecklers in the crowd complaining and you need answers and or solid ideas.

As I recall things like rent, coffee, literature, and assisting in local sober efforts were the primary purposes for the 7th as we know self supporting and declines outside contributions. At times if you have your own hall and you have to sustain chairs and tables these are understandably needed consumables in order to keep the group happy.

The other question would be who in the checks and balances of spending allowed this to occur? Human error happens and checks and balances in place help identify not going into the hole and having pucker factor moments.

We had to have a meeting on spending and have total account balances of everything before big purchases would be allowed. Obviously each group works differently.
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by JohnDaniels »

I would suggest contacting your DCM and laying it all on the line with him/her. Ask for his/her help in coming to the answers laid out in our AA Guidelines.

For what it's worth - As a former DCM, Area Secretary and Past delegate, I have seen this type of thing several times. Trying to cover it up will only raise more questions rather than answers. Don't look for any financial bailouts from GSO or any reliable AA groups. So having a single person step forward may sound admirable on the surface, but I would look into the motives. First was this a group conscience decision?

Also, AA groups are subject to an IRS audit.

I've seen a group with a compulsive gambler in charge of the money. He owned an off track betting service. The bank account showed heavy withdrawals, then replaced a few days later. It was looked into by the DCM. The decision was made to replace this man. Then take the enormous funds and conform to the 60-30-10 Plan. Then actually buy some AA Conference Approved Literature for the group. Leaving the group with a prudent reserve as outlined in our guidelines. Then putting this group on probation.

I have seen a group treasurer skip with the groups money. This was allot of money that should have never reached this point in the first place because the group never followed the 60-30-10 Plan that is partly designed to avoid these exact situations. When she was found and asked about it she became hostile. This only made matters worse. Everything was tried to avoid the legal avenue. This was an extremely right wing area of our country and remember each group has it's own autonomy. Through a group conscience, which I have mixed feelings on to this day, she was prosecuted and went to prison. Again this should have never gone this far if the 60-30-10 plan had been conformed to but in this case it was not.
These things can be avoided if the proper steps are followed in the first place. These are extreme examples but so is the one we are talking about in this topic.

Now let's all try to remember that AA is as far as I know the best plan on this planet to save the lives of the suffering alcoholic. In my opinion AA is one of Gods Agencies. I believe that because Bill W told that to my sponsor who told it to me. That is good enough for me.
So let's not all get down on the AA Group Treasurers. Being skeptics is part of most of our natures. I bet there's something we can learn and grow from out of all this, like our ability to trust. These folks for the most part are giving of themselves, selflessly and doing service work that keeps our AA groups going. If you've never been a group or area treasurer you really owe it to your personal growth. I want to thank these people within our groups with all my heart who represent us at so many levels.
Try to think of it like when we're in traffic and meet up with some road rage maniac. Most of road rage maniacs are in the 5% or 10% of drivers. Let them go and consider the source "There goes one of the 5% road rage drivers".
Years ago when I was a Welterweight Boxing Champion I used to take the road rage maniacs on! Then I aged and went to carrying signs in my truck - one side of the sign said "You Butt Head!" and the other side said "Radar Ahead!" Then I grew to serenity and started just slowing down and letting the other guy in to make his life better. That's a much better reward than the alterative, even when he speeds off with his middle finger in the air.

But even though we are AA, there are still those in AA meetings who insist on Roberts Rules of Order or the way the popular opinion rules the justice for these people. I believe the answer starts with good sponsorship to educate us as AA is designed. One sponsor I had was always pushing the Steps. The other one was always pushing the Traditions and the Service Manual. Heck, one of 'em's always pushin' somethin'. :lol:
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by kdub720 »

I was interested in this post because My Church just overspent on chairs that were unnecessary. When I read that it was for books and coins, at least that stuff is to help those in recovery. We all Make bad choices, I just got fired up when our little struggling church bought 100 thousand ddollars worth of chairs on credit, and we do not have attendence to fill the chairs, Now we have debt. It is cool that someone in the group could pay to lighten the burden a little. Keep on trucking you all will be styling.
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Re: Group overspent and in debt

Post by Duke »

I haven't had this one happen. Frankly, I can't imagine any entity selling us anything on a promise to pay. But, never say never.

Miscommunication happens. As long as you're taking responsibility per the group conscience, I can't imagine what else you could or should do. Since it involves money, I would not expect any decision about how to mend it to be unanimous or uncommented upon. Just ride it out, make it right and move on.

Life is a learning process after all.
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