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Minutes of October 15, 2003 SLAA Business Meeting

Present are: CarrieL_1, DaveofMa,  Jen, Maggie, Marabel, TimF, touchstone, VJ, Cathy, CharlieR, Krista, Renny, RickB, Shimbo, Steve, SteveS & VictorT.

The meeting opens with TimF sharing that the agenda is found at http://slaaonline.org/meet.html, and that the previous meeting’s minutes are found at http://slaaonline.org/minute.html for review.

VJ asks, "Is there any discussion on the minutes as read…any changes, additions or deletions?"

Cathy moved to approve the minutes, and TimF seconded the motion, and the minutes are approved as read.

VJ notes, "The only thing that I saw as old business during the previous month was…Marabel, the Secretary of our online SLAA group, would you announce the person who was elected to be #SLAA Online Group liaison to SLAA-FWS CIC?"

Marabel responds, "Yes VJ, Cathy is our new Liaison Officer…welcome Cathy!"

VJ, Marabel, Gina, Renny, Tim and SteveS all offer their congratulations, and Cathy grins.

TimF then reminds everyone "The agenda is posted at slaaonline.org/meet.html for all to follow along." VJ blushes, and says "I must have missed it Tim. Anyway, I’m still happy that Cathy is the new liaison," and smiles. Then she said, "Ok to go by this agenda."

Tim says, "No problem. I e-mailed ops about this Sunday."

Vicki opens the floor for discussion on the second item of the agenda.

"2. For 90-days beginning 6/15, we have worked to produce a new schedule of which trusted servants lead and/or greet our 23 meetings. That schedule was distributed informally 9/15 at the business meeting and on our website. We now should consider changing the "requirement" for a meeting to exist from three trusted servants to two trusted servants (leader and greeter, eliminating a *required* back-up)."

Vicki asks, "Do you want to just start with discussion on this issue? Who would like the floor?"

TimF responds. Vicki asks, "Please share Tim."

"Both this item and the next item (related) have to do with us having a schedule of when ops lead and greet. For years, we asked that every meeting have THREE trusted servants to begin so that there would be a leader, greeter, and back-up, and this system worked well for many years. But in the last year and a half, the 'system' has broken down, and getting the Trusted Servants to fulfill their obligations became problematic and they didn't try to replace themselves, either. So we really winged it for a year. In 90 days of making repeated emails to all ops, I made a new schedule (posted at slaaonline.org/ts.html) that is the best possible, given the times Trusted Servants can fulfill. I think that it would benefit us to only "require" two trusted servants for any meeting, but ALSO to stress to them how they MUST fulfill their appointed time (typically only one or two meetings a week -- according to how much they volunteered) and eliminate the need or reference to a "back-up" from the schedule (That will lead into the next item, shortly, about us needing to reconsider those meetings that we don't even have TWO TS's for).

Vicki thanked Tim and asked the room if anyone wanted to discuss the issue further.

Renny shares, "Thanks Tim for listing me as backup. I've done quite a few this last week where I was the only op or at least the only op at the start. This is a little scary for me as I have really come to rely on the meetings being there, and as fullfilling as it is to op, sometimes I just want to be a part of the meeting. So I am not sure of the solution other than maybe just getting more ops into the system, but I needed to say that - I need the meetings and if only one op is there I think they need to go on. One of the meetings I came into there were 9 people waiting patiently - guess practicing serenity ;-) (Maggie smiles)…and I was just coming by to do a quick share and run. Guess HP needed me there for longer. Any way, done."

Vicki said, "Thanks for sharing, Renny and for being a TS", and again asks for further discussion. RickB takes the floor.

RickB shares, "I just want to lay out a couple of ideas so we can look at all the angles while deciding the best way to move ahead. In AA it's common to have a sign up sheet. People volunteer on an ongoing basis. They just put their names on the calendar, and it's not the same person at the same meeting necessarily."

Jen remarks, "Same as our f2f slaa meetings."

RickB continues, "But they all get chaired at my f2f SLAA. We are considering a sign up sheet but have gone on a spur-of-the-moment basis for a long time. Someone just grabs the notebook and leads. Ok to finish...here's a crazy idea. Why does an op have to lead every meeting? With that, I'll sit down and listen again :)."

TimF then takes the floor. "In f2f, I am familiar with either the sign-up or the fly-by-night methods. And, frankly, we kinda went with fly-by-night for the last year here! :) But I think there is something to be said for the 'consistency' of opening and closing readings and that, of course, takes a scripts -- even if not an 'official' operator. Since our meetings ARE listed with SLAA-FWS and in the world directory I feel that it is important that we have someone that is 'sorta' official to be present...just like a real meeting has a key-holder...to be sure that the meeting starts in a timely fashion and newcomers are properly qualified and greeted."

Renny and Marabel nod.

Tim continues, "But the "scheduled leader and greeter" can always trade off any night, either ahead of time (often by e-mail) or at the meeting, by asking if someone else would care to lead that night. I have often done that. They don't even have to be an op - just type "John - you have the floor" etc. - and this makes them feel more connected to service and perhaps leads them to volunteering to "op" in the future. As to a sign-up sheet equivalent...so many of us just look at our daily meetings as a blur imho...so if they sign-up for next Tuesday Noon and then come Wednesday & Friday, that likely won't recall the specifics that they are set to lead the following Tuesday. So I feel a "scheduled" leader (and greeter) is important -- even if they trade hats as the meeting is close to beginning. Lastly...in this last month, I think that the reason some meetings are still not quite on the "new schedule" yet is because Marabel sent one email reminder about this but we didn't really send the schedule to all ops and stress the importance of consistency and how to go about replacing themself for a meeting if they have a conflict as I was waiting for tonight's business to put the finishing touches on the schedule before doing this."

Vicki then takes the floor to share her thoughts. "I’m going to put my 2 cents in and say that I am also one of those inconsistent people who people have to cover for at times and I cover for other people at times not looking at the schedule to see who didn't show up to do their TS jobs. It really doesn't matter much to me as long as there is a meeting…just like today, there was a conflict in scheduling and I and another TS needed to leave another member who wasn't an op at all was asked to cover and I am absolutely sure she did a fine job after the room was unmoderated. As far as the issue of having two TS instead of 3, I definitely think a healthy meeting can be run with 2 TS and actually even one most of the time."

Before Jen shares, Renny says, "Last 1.5 cents." Vicki grins.

Jen shares, "One of the reasons I never sign up for op-ing is because I am always at the mercy of my children's schedule and never know when I can consistently be here. But I do enjoy chairing and enjoy the opportunity to chair if nobody is here to lead. I am sure there are others who are the same way. Perhaps you don't need a 3rd person here as back up, but knowing that there are a number of people out here who are willing to back up or to fill in if someone else isn't able to be here might help. If scheduled ops had a list of people who would be willing to "fill in" they could send a message to them and see if they can get a replacement."

Renny puts in his pocket change. "Quickly, I think the person needs to be an op for safety of the room. I had to speak to a member today about an issue and if I needed to ban a person I could not do it if I were not an op. Also we do still get the occasional lookyloo and without the moderated status and the power to kick, that could also lead to the meeting being perceived as an unsafe place. That’s my 1.5 cents, thanks."

Vicki says, "Thanks Renny, good points. Any more discussion? Can we combine some of this into a motion?"

RickB says, "thinks we can".

TimF answers, "I move that we change the requirement to start or maintain a regularly scheduled meeting from three trusted servants to two trusted servants."

RickB seconds the motion. Vicki puts the motion on the floor for a vote. 12 members vote yes and 2 members abstain, so the motion carries.

Vicki asks, "I know that carries the vote…is there somewhere in the rule books that says we need to ask the abstainers why they abstain?"

Tim replies, "No."

Vicki turns to the abstainers to ask, "Do the abstainers wish to explain? Or let it ride?"

TimF answers, "If we had negatives, we could ask why (for the minority opinion) to see if they sway anyone (RickB nods in agreement with Tim)."

Vicki then continues, "Ok, well let’s move on if time permits."

Tim replies, "Hopefully a lot of earlier discussion will make this next item less time consuming – famous last words." Krista laughs.

Vicki puts the next item on the agenda to the floor.

"3. We still have several meetings that need to be addressed specifically. 1) Eliminating the Australia Meeting; 2) Two trusted servants for Sunday Noon, Tuesday 4:30, and Friday 4:30pm; 3) One trusted servant for Wednesday 10pm, Monday Noon, Tuesday Noon, Thursday Noon, Monday 4:30, and Wednesday 4:30. Let's agree to cancel the Australia Meeting and make regular announcements at those other specific meetings for the following four weeks (before deciding to eliminate them, too)."

Vicki asks, "Would you please explain this Tim more to us?"

Tim replies, "Thanks, Vicki. Now that we have agreed to only require TWO trusted servants, we still have a few meetings that are in need of trusted servants, namely the Australia Meeting and Sunday Noon,

Tuesday 4:30, and Friday 4:30pm. Those FOUR meetings have NO trusted servants scheduled. I emailed all of our Australian Trusted Servants privately to specifically ask about the Aussie Meeting, and none of them can commit at this time. Moreover, Paul makes it clear that they are rarely attended and expressly asked that we discontinue that meeting as being 'scheduled'. So I feel that we should cancel the Australia Meeting effective immediately. That leaves THREE meetings with NO trusted servants."

Touchstone says, "I can do Tuesday 4:30."

Tim goes on to say, "And we still need a greeter for Wednesday 10pm, Monday Noon, Tuesday Noon, Thursday Noon, Monday 4:30, and Wednesday 4:30. As Rick said about the sign-up process earlier, I feel that we have done as much as possible via emailing the trusted servants."

Krista says, "I also volunteered in an email to a Yahoo addy."

Tim continues, "And feel that these meetings would serve themselves better by making the announcement that a trusted servant (or two) is needed DURING those particular meetings and have the volunteers email slaaonline@yahoo.com so we can update the schedule and then review the schedule next business meeting to see what meetings are still in jeopardy."

VJ responds, "Thanks for clearing that up, Tim." Vicki then asks if anyone else wishes to discuss this issue.

Vicki then contributes, "I agree with Tim about eliminating the Aussie meeting and asking the TS during the daytime, and I am one of the guilty parties yet again that doesn’t ask for more TS help :) , to write to slaaonline@yahoo.com." Vicki then asks if there is any more discussion on this topic.

Marabel says, "I move that we eliminate the Aussie meeting, and let the individual meetings find volunteers to replace themselves to fill the remaining meetings in jeopardy."

Vicki asks for a second to the motion, and touchstone and Renny second the motion.

Vicki then says, "Let’s vote on this motion. I move that we eliminate the Aussie meeting, and let the individual meetings find volunteers to replace themselves to fill the remaining meetings in jeopardy."

The motion passes with 9 votes in favor and one abstention.

Vicki asks, "Next month we address the continuation of the said meetings that have no TS listed? Or at least have a report on the progress of getting TS for leading them."

Marabel remarked, "I think that would be wise."

Vicki then answers, "Ok, let’s put that on the top of the old business list. Do we have time to address any more business?" TimF answers "Yes." Vicki then responds, "Ok."

Tim reminds, "Business meetings run 90 minutes with no new items starting after 75 minutes, so we are just in time."

Vicki then states the last item of old business.

"On 7/11, a member raised a concern about the ability to ban a person without first giving the member notice about the ban. Will you give us background on this? Tim?"

Tim answers, "Thanks, Vicki (I’ll try)." Vicki smiles. "Our ban policy has been pretty much in place for many years...very few changes. An op may ban someone immediately for up to one week, but must then notify the officers. The officers decide what course of action to take. Normally inappropriate behavior results in a warning (1st), then bans of increasing lengths on subsequent occurances, but we always endeavor to hear "both sides" of the problem by getting two officers, the offended, and the offender together in a private chat to discuss the matter. Then, the officers regroup with ALL of the officers to reach a consensus. The problem is, sometimes a ban needs to be placed immediately by one operator and we do not have an email address for the party being banned so it can become troublesome to coordinate a meeting for everyone to get together. The op that asked this item to be considered was concerned because a member was banned (by an op) for seven days (within their rights) and before any action could be taken to move forward this party went to another operator and complained, saying that they were clueless about why they were banned. Whether they were really clueless or not is uncertain, but that is what was claimed and it put that subsequent operator into the middle of a mess, of which she knew nothing about and felt upset that things were handled in this matter, even though I don't know that things could have been handled differently...whew!"

Vicki said, "Thanks Tim for covering a difficult topic."

Krista then takes the floor. "On part a ....how to ban a person and make arrangements of a hearing. Can you de voice the person long enough to have a private chat with them and make the arrangements or explain the proces and get an addy? And part b… I was an op of a different recovery group that had a message board, and every day when you signed on you checked the board. Only ops could go to this area as it was private from the rest of the members and be privy to current events. This enables ops to be up to date on issues."

Vicki then thanks Krista for sharing and remarks, "Probably Tim can explain this most fully."

Cathy raises her hand and VJ asks, "Cathy are you going to explain to Krista?"

Cathy answers, "LOL no, I had a question though that Tim could probably answer too." Vicki laughs.

Vicki says, "I hope Tim is taking notes and please be patient, Krista." Cathy asks, "How often does a situation like this come up?"

Tim replies, "Devoicing is possible, but not always the easiest method. A far better method, and the way that we usually do things, is the op looks for any officer(s) in the room and all join #slaa2 (or #slaa3 if this room is in use). If no officer(s), an op looks for another op. If no other ops, an op looks for one of the longstanding and trusted members so that we have more than hearsay later. They go to #SLAA2 and very quickly discuss the situation…"

(Shimbo offers to be called on phone if needed)

TimF continues, "…then they PM the offended party and have them join. If this was the result of one party offending another party, BOTH are asked to join #SLAA2 and the matter is fully discussed, allowing both parties to talk out their side without interruption. Then the meeting log is sent to the officers for review and the officers later reach consensus about a warning (or a ban if not the first time for that party). That is how it plays out when things go smoothly. Unfortunately, sometimes the person will NOT join the room to address the matter. Sometimes the person acts out and leaves promptly, and it is in THOSE times where the situation becomes more difficult (Marabel nods)."

"As far as a bulletin board, we will be opening a Forum message board at slaaonline.org later this month. This will allow members to share with each other using their browser (like #SCA web-based meetings) but it WILL have a private section available ONLY to trusted servants (they see the section and other members don't - kinda magic (sic) and it will also have a private section for officers and past officers which can serve as an archive of what members have ever been warned or banned."

"Cathy…Warnings/bans happen sporadically...sometimes we get three in a month, sometimes we go eight months with no trouble...so not easy answer. Right now, we have three bans in place...one at the member's own request (for their safety), two were clearly 2nd offenses - meaning a 30-day ban WITH a 30-day sobriety requirement to ask us to rejoin the room, and that is up to THEM to ask - even though the bans have been in place for a few months now."

Cathy said, "No, I meant how often does someone say they are clueless about why a ban was placed? LOL."

Krista interrupts, "1. You run into time issues sorting through an issue is detailed and the meeting is still underway; 2. Computer savvy issues...joining different rooms; 3. Offended does not want to be talking to offender.... etc."

Tim responds to Cathy’s question, "About 110% of the time, LOL." Vicki and Cathy grin.

Vicki responds to Krista’s interruption, "Ok Krista, I’m not sure I understand your message."

TimF continues to Cathy, "The question is – can we deal with it IMMEDIATELY, or do we have to hunt them down later?"

Krista responds to Vicki, "Didn’t mean to send it yet." Vicki says, "Ok."

Vicki restates the last item on the agenda, "On 7/11, a member raised a concern about the ability to ban a person without first giving the member notice about the ban. More discussion on this issue?" Then Vicki takes the floor. "This is a hot potatoe for me and Tim reminded me that I was the one who brought it up. J ." Tim also smiles and says, "Ayup."

Vicki continues, "Like a good codependent, I want to envision peace, love and kindness in the world but that isn’t reality, so oftentimes I get caught in the middle (Cathy relates and smiles), and I am positive that I am not the only one who questions did this person really do something that bad? They seem so nice…and like an addict I don’t want anyone to be banned because we all need help. Plus the fact that sometimes we just get a hankering and just don’t like someone and have a bad day and one more bad thing they say to us is the last straw on the camel’s back. So for me there has to sometimes be a balance of power to ban someone because not any one person should have that power, and if tempers are calmed down, then and mostly then we can talk things out rationally because more often than not there are 2 sides to a story. Some of us are perpetually victims and continuing to take a victim role is also not good for recovery…so for some reason I would like to see a real cut and dried way to approach banning that."

Marabel shares, "First of all, I seem to remember that when someone is "kicked" at least, there is a message sent to the offender to contact slaaonline@yahoo.com if there are any questions as to why they are kicked (or is that when one is banned?)."

Tim answers, "Both." Marabel replies to Tim, "kewl…thanks Tim J ."

Marabel continues, "So, the offender does have at least that bit of recourse…"

Tim says, "If you use the pop-ups to do this, instead of manually."

Marabel says, "That’s good to know Tim. Another thing…It seems to me the question is, how much does an op have authority in an emergency situation to ban and also, how to quickly inform other ops of the immediate situation. I would think that if there are any other ops in the room, the banning op could simply PM them and let them know or /omsg the other ops to take care of any immediate informing of what just went on to the other ops. I thought the SLAA Ops List from Yahoo was set up for that, as well as for informing other ops when there are changes in scheduling (of course, that only works for the ops who are on that list, since there are many more who are NOT). Maybe it’s simply a matter of finding a better way to quickly inform, in which case, the new forum should be the solution. Just my thoughts, thanks, done."

Cathy then raises her hand to make a motion, and Renny raises his hand for more discussion.

Vicki says, "Yes Renny if you have more discussion."

Renny shares, "I had this happen only today, and it was uncomfortable. If there was some verbage or a more detailed appeal process on banning that was in script form I'd feel more at ease. It did not get to a ban, but I also did not call anyone in – didn’t even think about it. Nor did I log it to pass it on, though I did tell the other ops. So if there was a motion I'd like it to say something about expanding the scripts to include the process for the hearing and how to appeal but also I'd've liked some clear guidelines on when to ban, sort of a cardinal list of offenses, and have that be posted or shown where all are aware."

Vicki then takes the floor. "I wanted to finish a bit of my share. I along with Renny think this needs to be addressed more thoroughly. Maybe it can be brought up on next month’s meeting agenda, unless the other members are content on a motion that will be brought up now. Further discussion or motion?"

Cathy raises her hand again for a motion and takes the floor. "I move that we continue to try and get both parties and 2 ops/officers together to talk it out if possible before plaicing a ban, and reevaluate this at the next business meeting seeing that we are 115 minutes into this meeting."

Vicki asks for seconds to this motion. TimF shares, "Actually, we can move to adjourn, which will close this meeting and put this item on the agenda next month all in one easy step. Also, I inaccurately told Renny a webpage earlier: http://slaaonline.org/guidelines.html is where we have our process explained in detail. For some reason, slaaonline.org is very slow now. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/slaa/guidelines.html is a back-up of that same page."

Vicki then winds up the meeting with, "Ok good, but there are a few announcements that I didn’t have earlier to put up." Tim smiles.

Vicki shares the following announcements: "The "Website Review Committee" was formed in June and currently includes VJ=Vicki, Marabel, Cathy, sisterjam=Jameela, TimF=Tim, and ChrisT=Chris. If anyone is interested, please email slaaonline@yahoo.com to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join."

"The "Speakers Committee" was formed in February and currently includes Carrie, Steve, Ubergoober=Glenn, and TimF=Tim. If anyone is interested, please email slaaonline@yahoo.com to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join."

"We would like to welcome our new operators since 8/15/02 -- bringing us to 80 operators: VBron=Ron (8/17), Syncrolynx=Rob (8/22), Chuck66=Chuck (8/25), cudbme (8/25), and CLStan=Chris (8/29)."

"The "Openletter Committee" was formed in January and currently includes Osiyeza=Camille, Marabel, Steve, and Guest50341=Walter. If anyone is interested, please email slaaonline@yahoo.com to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join. We hope to have a new "Open Letter" in place by the end of November."

"Marabel will be providing a STEP ONE share this Saturday, October 18th at the 10pm Eastern Daylight Time meeting."

Tim and Cathy "woohoo" and Vicki smiles.

"A new version of mIRC (v6.12) was released Monday-13-October."

"Starting this Sunday, October 26, we operate this room on STANDARD TIME. Either change your clocks one hour back or meet us one hour later (two hours later in Australia which changes their clocks this same day in the other direction). As this date is near, please announce this at meetings to avoid confusion of our members in countries, states, or regions that do not observe SAVING TIME make the change on the first Sunday of November (one week later)."

Vicki has finished the announcements, and says, "We need to move to adjourn and have a volunteer for the closing prayer."

TimF moves to close, and Vicki seconds the motion.

The meeting closes with the Serenity Prayer at 11:53 PM EST.