Sobriety: 2 yrs Term: 2 yrs
The main function of the chairperson is to facilitate the Group Steering Committee (GSC) and Group Conscience (GC) meetings. Additional responsibilities include announcing the GSC meeting agendas and timing, and writing a GSC meeting report for inclusion in the Group report.
PREPARATION OF THE GSC MEETING AGENDA.
- Two weeks before the next GSC meeting the chairperson announces preparation of the agenda and requests items for inclusion. The Chairperson must carefully consider all issues submitted to GSC members, by members of the group, for possible inclusion in the final agenda.
- The agenda could also include items discussed or to be discussed by the DSC, ASC or WSC. The chairperson should be well informed on all such matters by the GSR.
- The group may have decided to include in the agenda certain items left over from the previous meeting because they require further debate or additional information was needed.
- The agenda should be as clear and as specific as possible, remembering we only have a limited amount of time for debate.
- The Chairperson has the "right of decision" when deciding on the final agenda but must remember he/she is accountable to the group.
- The Chairperson should give the final Agenda to the GSR for distribution one week before GSC meetings.
- All motions made should be carefully considered in light of our Traditions & Concepts. If the Chairperson believes the motion to be outside of these it should be his/her duty to inform the Committee/Group and reject the motion. The Committee/Group can overturn this with a majority vote.
- Any motion made at the meeting, which has already been voted on within the previous six months, should not be allowed unless a majority of two thirds desires it.
- There should be thorough discussion and as much understanding of the motion as possible before any vote is taken.
- There should be only one motion on the table at a time, a new motion is allowed only if the first is withdrawn.
- At any time a member can introduce an amendment to the main motion being debated. For an amendment to pass, it needs a simple majority.
- Any motion by a sober member of the Committee/Group which has been seconded should be carefully considered and voted on provided it fits the criteria in points 1 - 5
- On simple matters a majority vote is enough. Even a sense of the meeting may take the place of a vote if no vote seems essential. In such case the Chairperson asks “is it the sense of the meeting that…?” If there are no no’s it is apparent there is agreement.
- The Committee/Group should decide on any change in the voting procedure before a vote is taken. The majority required (if more than a simple majority) to be made known to the Committee/Group by the Chairperson before voting.
- Any matter of great importance to the Committee/Group or AA as a whole can be decided with a two-thirds majority or even three quarters majority rather than a simple majority. The Committee/Group can decide what majority is required with a majority vote.
- After any vote the Chairperson can ask for minority opinions “a well reasoned minority opinion can result in another vote, reversing the first decision”.
- The Chairperson has no vote in the GSC but has a casting vote in the Group Conscience. When a vote is equally divided i.e. if the vote was ten for & ten against, the Chairperson can decide the vote one way or the other.
- The Chairperson can request an immediate vote on any issue that needs to be resolved quickly. This could mean a vote before or after any meeting without prior warning.
N.B. Refer to the ‘Third Legacy Procedure’ for the election of officers (The A.A. Service Manual Combined with Twelve Concepts for World Service p: S20, S21)
- To avoid confusion and to encourage full participation by as many members as possible, all persons who would like to speak should first raise their hands and only speak at the invitation of the Chairperson.
- When choosing who speaks next, the Chairperson is not obliged to operate on a first hand up basis. The Chairperson’s priority is always allowing a well-informed conscience to be expressed. This is not only achieved by allowing maximum member participation, but also by allowing the Committee/Group to be “well-informed by its elders”.
- Non-Committee/Group members are also welcome to participate in discussions but only at the invitation of the Chairperson. Non-Committee/Group members have no voting rights.
- If a member feels that the rules of order are being broken they can immediately raise a ‘point of order’ and state what rule has been broken or not enforced by the Chairperson. A point of order can interrupt a speaker. The Chairperson decides if the point is valid or not, and proceeds accordingly.
- A point of privilege can interrupt a speaker. Any member who feels that their right or privileges have been infringed on may bring this point by stating their problem. Privilege refers to anything regarding the comfort or to the right of the member not to be insulted, misquoted or deliberately misinterpreted. Again, the Chairperson decides if the point is valid or not, and proceeds accordingly.
- If any member feels that the Chairperson has ruled their point of order or privilege on unfairly, they can challenge the Chairperson. The Chairperson then asks for a motion to uphold the Chairperson, and a vote is taken. The vote decides whether the action decided upon by the Chairperson is valid, or whether the member is correct.
- At any point any member can ask that further debate on any topic be ended. This requires a majority vote.
- Give a deadline at which you intend closing the meeting – only go over the appointed time with a majority vote.
- The Chairperson should command the respect of all those in the room. The Chairperson is not the final arbitrator of all decisions: the GSC/Group ultimately has the authority and the responsibility to decide on the running of the meeting.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
- At the GSC meeting ask for all relevant nominations. Each candidate should be seconded.
- Ask for all in favour of the nomination to raise their hands. If there is more than one nomination for a particular job the candidate with majority gets the GSC nomination.
- At the Group Conscience meeting the Chairperson reads out all the nominations for all positions, asking the candidate's to raise their hands to identify themselves and show that they are willing to do the job.
- All candidates submitted by the GSC should have been seconded at the GSC meeting prior to the Group Conscience.
- At the Group Conscience meeting start by putting forward the nominee for the relevant position. Ask for any other nominations. If there are none ask for any objections to the candidate having the job. In the absence of any objections the candidate is elected. If there are other nomination's they should be seconded before going to a vote.
- If an elected officer is unable to complete their term of office and finishes between conscience meetings the GSR can appoint a member to fill in. The new officer should be ratified at the next GSC meeting.
- If the position discussed in (6) involves membership of the GSC, the GSR should cover the position themselves or ask a current member of the GSC to do the job, until the GSC decide on a nomination for the group to ratify.