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Minutes of business meeting on Thu-11-Mar-99
Meeting was called to order by Maxine at 11:10pm EST.
Attendance: 14
5 Operators: Abram DanK georgew Maxine TimF
4 Non-ops: Deb Marn Ryan Sophie
5 Partial attendance: none2 RickB RobZ wade Yo

<Maxine> Everyone, we will not have a formal business meeting tonight. Instead, I'd like to just have some open discussion on where we want this group to go. I.e. are we interested in being registered with SLAA world service? Do we want to have formal business meetings as we have, or more like informal board meetings? Do we want to have some sort of e-mail loop correspondence associated with our group?
<RobZ> I would really be interested in being registered with the SLAA world service. Would you like me to find out any particulars on this to present to the group?
<Maxine> George is currently working on that end. It WILL take some time, as they aren't sure what to do with us on-line people, but we are looking at the possibilities.
<Deb> I agree with Rob about the registration, and think that an email loop would be great too.
<Maxine> An email loop can be done through ONElist.com. We can all be on there anonymously, only the loop owner would have access to the e-mail addresses to keep it up to date. We would send an email to the loop and it would go to everyone signed onto that loop. Just an idea right now, if we would like to pursue that.
<Deb> What about on Onelist's registry is there a way to keep it closed and not advertised?
<Ryan> That sounds good as long as anonymity is protected and as long as the loop is not open to public access.
<Maxine> It would be advertised by description of the loop only, such as, a loop for SLAA members.
<Abram> There is currently an SLAA mailing list, and it needs support. I realize that it is not anonymous, but I probably would stick with that myself.
<Deb> There is SLAA-digest.
<Maxine> I'd like to give the floor to George to explain a bit about registering with world service.
<georgew> Since we are reorganizing, I took the opportunity after discussing it with Maxine to approach them. Maxine wanted us to be official and hopefully use their site that gets far more hits than ours to provide information about us. SLAA very generously invited me and Maxine to join their on-line committee, at least temporarily, and wants our ideas, suggestions, and input. They recognize we are one of the largest on line groups. We will apply also for group level membership and they will provide some page apace. It may not contain our final guidelines/bylaws or any other large items, but at least give us a place to be recognized by suffering addicts who need more meetings or have no meetings, and make us officially SLAA. Their URL is http://www.slaafws.org.
<georgew> After seeing both formats, We started with a modified Robert’s rules. After complaints of not having discussion after a motion by several people, we went to a strict Robert’s rules. We recognize everything takes much longer on line due to typing time, typing problems, semantics problems, and no body language. I felt the original boardroom format worked better. Maxine and I went to an #saa meeting on Monday and it used casual board format. This is actually a modified Robert’s rules and has its own rules: follows agenda with opening, minutes, Chair is allowed to talk, old business new business, close. Very much the same except Chair does not need to turn chair to co-chair to talk. Second, each agenda topic is thoroughly discussed before motion. When Chair is satisfied that the topic is talked out, Chair asks any other discussion and if none, all discussion is ended forever. If the discussion has led to a modification of the agenda item, than the modified motion is presented rather than the original agenda item. No second is required and then a vote it taken and that is final. Discussion is more thorough, including details of modifications, until chair is comfortable. So discussion is ahead of motion, and motion is drafted by the consciousness of discussion and vote ends it. Each item on the agenda is subsequently handled in the same way.
<Maxine> One of the other concerns brought up was terms of office. We can leave it open to length of term for now, or we can consider a one-year term.
<georgew> Since there seems to be concern about terms, I have recommended to Maxine that a one-year term be proposed with unlimited ability to run. To me it answers the issue in my mind of few long-term recovery people (not just here but in any recovery room). This proposal provides for replacement if owner is not competent or if they do not want to serve more than one year. To me major issue is owner having to leave before term is up. I believe co-owner should serve term out, but if desired, another election could be held which we all see is a bit cumbersome but possible. As long as we can replace someone who cannot serve any longer for any reason, we have protected our selves.
<Deb> I just wanted to agree with what George is saying and add that for some co reason I have always felt that my term with my crochet list, web site, and chat is something I will do for the rest of my life. But I understand burnout nowadays and stepping down when need be or whatever.
<TimF> I echo Gary's sentiment on a few things. I agree that room stability is important. Room owner stability is important. And have been so glad Maxine volunteered to do this when Rick stepped down. But room owner and chairperson do not need to be connected. Room owner doesn't even need to be "elected office." I would support long-term room ownership. John passing on to Rick passing on to Maxine passing on to ??? as NEED arises. As to offices, I have been one of several asking about terms. Have suggested 6 months or 1 year all along for numerous reasons: 1) Service helps people in their recovery; 2) Offices are responsible for business meetings, responsibility is growth; 3) Burn-out can be handled "pro-actively" by knowing one's term will be for so long; 4) Rotation of leadership is all I've seen in 12-step fellowships. As to business meetings, boardroom style worked well last week for other group. I've been saying all along that having a MONTHLY business meeting would allow for committees to regroup (more boardroom style inherently) several times between business meetings and therefore provide more unified vision upon original presentation to larger group. I still support this. And it's still the plan, I believe. But really encourage us to SLOW DOWN the business meetings. When I had my cold, getting minutes prepped was bordering on burning me out, already.
<georgew> I think Tim made good points. But I believe there is one persuasive argument for owner and chair being same person. The owner will always be person who controls channel and who must answer to servers and so we would have a chair who was subservient to owner because chair and owner must agree on important issues, namely room safety on issues of personal problems in room, and chair disagreed with owner we would have potential conflict. That is not healthy for us addicts. I believe we need simplicity in our first attempt at putting this group together. With owner able to control by right of channel position, including the ridiculous event of owner banning the chair, I believe in safe management -- no temptation. Let them be the same and avoid even the remotest possibility of this becoming an issue.
<TimF> George's point is valid. Although I still feel otherwise, my view is that room owner would ONLY be responsible to StarLink rules. Room safety would rest with Chairperson. To date, SLAA room and all past and present members have never been disruptive to StarLink and its rules. If this, hopefully, continues, Owner would have this responsibility, but would never need to exercise it and if they would, it would be DOWNSTREAM from server ops. Mind you, I still think that in the first run of things...Maxine would have my vote for the position of chairMAN - not my sexist note there, heehee - and so would be same person. But still think its not of any great significance to room as a whole and its future.
<Deb> I just wanted to share my experience as a channel owner on another network. I had such an episode of power struggle in my channel just last year. It was one sided and very ugly. My email list is 880+ now and my channel serves whomever comes in. We have topped out the servers at times during charity events. I had only those who were very devoted to the channel and list as Ops. One wanted to take over the channel. We have over 20 admin on my list but fewer in chat due to not everyone participating in chat. It basically came down to me vs. the other person. And I actually had to ban her and one other who were making life miserable for the regular chatters. Which took down a good deal of support on the list, but it survived after that. It is very possible for things to happen like what George was saying. Mine is not a recovery channel and is obviously not made up of totally healthy people at times. Simplicity works the best in my honest opinion and experience.
<Abram> My perspective on all of this was deeply influenced by our meeting with the StarLink Admins. Itsy kept saying "It like when you rent building space for a meeting. The responsibilities of the building owner are different from those of the people holding the meeting." The analogy was the channel is a StarLink responsibility. And the meeting is an SLAA responsibility. The reason this discussion returned to my mind just now was the news that be may have a page or link from the SLAA site. If that happens, our numbers could increase dramatically. We are still small enough now that things are going smoothly. Perhaps people remember that one of my first questions about business meetings was if each night on #SLAA would have its own business meeting and I was told no, its all one meeting. [TimF remarked “one group.”] Yet we have feedback meetings, gratitude meetings, and we may have step meetings. I believe we have one channel. And we may be one group now, but in the future we may be more than one group on this channel. For that reason, I am in favor of separation of owner and chair of business meetings. Yes I understand the potential for conflict, and that an owner might ban a chair. But that is good! That is what StarLink wants. They want all people who are going to use their network to behave.
<georgew> Itsy and Amazing made it clear that they didn't care whether chair and owner were the same. They just answered a question from Rick about responsibilities and their answer was technically correct. Two, from the practical side, all four groups I have been involved in have owners running everything, including this site since it was begun over 4 years ago. All work well because they have an owner who cared about members, about the site, and about recovery. There are NO sites I am aware of who make any separation and YOU should care who owner is. Abram, you said StarLink would like to see owner kick chair. I disagree. They want peace. And your assumption was chair was wrong. But what if chair was right and owner wrong. Point is clear, keep things simple. Owner-run channels work and work well and have faithful followers, because owner better love what he does and love group and love people. Three, we have limited resources of qualified people. Owner MUST be strong and responsible. He/she will always have ultimate say, and I object to having an owner with no other responsibility for channel then handle disputes. We need to put willing people to work and chair to run meetings, guide committees, and make sure of discipline. With an owner who has nothing to do except in a crisis is bad management and for us potential catastrophe. A waste of talents God gave us.
<TimF> First I'll say that I will support WHATEVER the group outcome. But what Deb mentioned could happen whether owner and chair ARE -or- AREN'T same person. Anyone who has ops (even 100 level) can try to wreck havoc. By having a trusted server in position of room owner, the changing of Chairpersons over the years and Abram's point of additional GROUPS using same room would all be accommodated either way. But I still encourage separate room owner. If a malicious Chairperson goes astray and starts banning regulars, deoping people, etc., the room could fold completely. But if a room owner with lots of recovery exists, they could be "petitioned" even by people locked out of the room and ultimately restore order to this special place that I call home.
<Maxine> I am NOT offended if we decide to make owner separate from chair. That is NOT going to hurt my feelings in anyway. HOWEVER, I personally believe it is SIMPLER to have owner = chair, co-owner = co-chair.
<Yo> Wouldn't it be nice if there were another meeting later in the evening for us WEST COASTERS. I would love to be able to "Chair" a meeting later in the evening one or two nights a week. How TERRIFIC it would be if I could take on a little responsibility towards myself and others. TOWARDS RECOVERY. And if it didn't work out, at least I could say I tried. Sometimes change is hard to accept. I think the intention behind this Charter we've been working on was a FANTASTIC idea and I COMMEND YOU Maxine for all the work you have done so far. But there seems to be some serious issues here to avoid CHANGE at any cost. My feeling is, if you don't want to try something new, then don't try something new. LEAVE THINGS THE WAY THEY WERE. Who cares if it's a HUGE stress that the LEADER MUST BE HERE. MUST CHAIR EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. UNTIL RESIGNATION. UNTIL BURNT OUT. UNTIL... Let's try something new.
<Deb> Gary is under the impression that a leader must be present and chair every night. I don't know what the rules are, but I hardly see that as possible.
* Yo remarked that he tried to suggest different chairs for different nights.
<Maxine> To clarify, #SLAA is open 24 hours. Often people pop in here and wait for others to show up and they have a meeting on the fly. Any time you want to have a scheduled meeting here and have people to attend, the room is open and available. You DON'T have to have an OP here to have a meeting. If you DO want one, let someone know. If you want scripts, I can deliver them. My e-mail is available at the website and you can make suggestions at any time. The business meetings have constantly gone over time and yet we still seem to be stumbling over SIMPLE issues to get started with. We don't have to have everything perfectly in place. We just need a skeleton structure to get us going. Once we get a steering committee, most of these details will be hashed out by them, on their own time, not during business meetings, as we have done previously. The process of getting decisions during an on-line meeting is exhausting for everyone, especially for those of us who try diligently to let everyone have a say, putting our own opinions aside to allow for others to talk, and yet we STILL get no where in getting a decision nailed down. Nothing is in stone here. We can try something and change it if it doesn't meet our needs NO WHERE does it say that we HAVE to stick by these decisions FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. If we see a need arise, we can always bring it back up. I appreciate all of you who keep these meetings going. You are the backbone here. I appreciate all of you who are willing to hash these details out too.

Meeting was closed at 1:23am EST with the Serenity Prayer.