Minutes of the First GSR Meeting 12/18/16

First UA GSR phone meeting on 12/18/16

Acronyms: GSR = General Service Representative for a group, ISR = Intergroup Service Representative, WSC = World Service Conference, GSB = General Service Board of Trustees, UA = Underearners Anonymous, PI = Public Information (committee)

Interim Chair Mark B opened the meeting with the Serenity Prayer at 1:00 Eastern Time

Volunteer timekeeper: Jean Camille

Steve, General Service Representative (GSR) from the Intuition and Clarity phone meeting asked whether the meeting was being recorded, and Mark said yes. Steve said there was no advance notice that the meeting was being recorded.

In attendance:

Mark B, recruited to be Interim Chair for this meeting, GSR for the Bronx Group in NY

Maggie, Seattle, Thursday Night Prosperity, recruited to take notes for this meeting

Jean Camille, Intergroup Service Rep (ISR) for the Los Angeles Intergroup

Clara, East Coast, 7:15 AM Underearning and Solvency phone meeting

Geri, New Jersey, 9:45 Eastern AM Step and Tools phone meeting

Pam, Colorado, 8:30 Heartfelt Prosperity Step and Tools

Fay, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s face to face meetings

Marcia, Sherman Oaks (L.A.), Wed Night 7 PM Worth and Action meeting

Athena, New York, 12:15 AM Monday Daily Prosperity and Vitality meeting

Greg, Altadena, California, Thursday Night 7:30 PM Prosperity meeting

Tom, New York, UA NYC Sunday 11 AM meeting

Wayne in Canada just listening in.

Alison, representing the General Service Board, currently the Vice Chair. Here to welcome everyone. Just here for 30 minutes.

Ed W, New York, Upper West Side Visions Meeting of Manhattan, Wednesday nights

Steve, New York, GSR for the Intuition and Clarity phone meeting, Sundays 12:15 PM

Eve B, New York City, member at large, attended the WSC, not currently representing a group

Henasusha, Massachusetts, Amherst Steps to Prosperity meeting Monday night

Eliya, Los Angeles, Saturday Farmers Market meeting, 11:00.

Shawn, New York


Jean Camille mentioned that the meeting was being recorded, in case the secretary missed anything.

Mark: The GSB has been created from our collective Higher Power. He then invited Alison, our liaison from the General Service Board, to speak.

Alison from General Service Board: 5 minutes with 1 minute warning. Delighted that everyone is here. Those of us who were at the World Service Conference are now understanding the kind of structure that the GSB worked hard to put in place over the last two years during the period when we didn’t have a WSC. This is a wonderful example of what came out of that wonderful coming together of the UA representatives in New York. The fact that we now have this structure in place where we’re going to have the GSRs meeting monthly and out to the groups, it’s such a testament to UA recovery that we’re in this place. Fantastic to our higher powers that you all created this for UA as a whole. Wish I could stay for the entire meeting. Absolutely delighted.

Mark asked Alison if she wanted to say anything about how this structure was created. It seemed that the GSB was created out of pure ether or from our Higher Power. I’m not an elected official, but to start something new you have to have some way to start. Could you address how the GSB came to be and led to the World Service Conference that we just experienced, and how this is linked to that?

Alison: Will do my best. UA is a 12 Step, 12 Tradition program. And the Traditions state that UA is membership-run. We are run by underearners. Over the years that the conference has taken place UA has been setting up structure so we can hear the voice of the conference, be here for the addict who still suffers, and then get the work of the conference done at the level of world service, always adhering to the Traditions. So this committee emerged out of the fabulous work that all of you did at the conference, working together to understand what would be helpful to UA as a whole. I wasn’t part of this particular working group; I was just there as it all emerged. So it’s part of understanding that as we grow in membership and fellowship, we set in place a structure of how we communicate and more people to do world service and understanding of the Traditions and how even though meetings are autonomous, meetings affect UA as a whole. I’m just speaking for myself, not for all the trustees. Each trustee might have a different take on this. I’m just thrilled because I believe this will help UA as a whole.

Mark: We did break into different committees, which we’ll address later in this meeting. The committee that created this entity were Jean Camille and Eve and Geri. Would you like to address this Service Structure committee and the history of it and what it’s doing?

Eve: I’m based in New York. I was fortunate enough to attend the recent WSC after not having been able to attend for several years. Was a GSR several years ago, but attended this year as a member at large. We started out with eight members in the Service Structure committee. Everyone at the conference was asked to populate a committee. Great options. The Service Structure committee included Geri, Rita, Peter S, Jean Camille, Eve, Steve, a couple of others. We’re all getting together to do HP’s work to move UA forward. Before we broke into committees at the conference we heard about the growth in UA over the last couple of years. Financially we have more abundance. We also have more abundance In terms of meetings, intergroups, GSR attendance. We heard a lot about the GSB and one issue that came up over the years was that pretty early on we had a GSB, but we were missing a lot of the interim pieces because we weren’t yet grown up enough, mature enough, to have all these various parts. We had no Intergroups, no formal GSR’s, we just had various members who had started groups. However, in the last several years the more busy our GSB board has gotten and the more that needs to be covered at the GSB meetings, the less ad hoc and loose and open they have been and the less people have been able to have direct involvement at the actual monthly GSB meetings. So over the last year or so general service reps have not had the opportunity to speak up on issues and have direct interaction on the board meetings. There hasn’t been enough virtual and temporal space for members to participate at the GSB meetings. So it seemed that UA has grown to the point that we need to have this other piece. In order for the GSB to be able to do its work like take care of finances and legal questions to support the groups and to support our identity as UA and to provide a virtual space and meeting time for GSR’s to do their work, it’s like we’ve grown up and the kids have moved out of the big house and are ready to build their own house. So we made a motion, and here it is:

Motion 1: To create a GSR committee with the mission to meet monthly in a phone meeting of one and a half hours, following Robert’s Rules, to address issues and to facilitate communication and action. Basically this motion is designed to create the house we’re going to build and gives us a venue to do the service structure work and also to form or continue the work of these subcommittees like Literature, Public Information, Phone/Tech, Finance, etc.

Motion 2: To create subcommittees working within the GSR committee body in order to carry out the will of the fellowship as a whole, including the chair from each standing GSB committee as liaison.

These two motions were passed unanimously. So grateful to have been a part of this, and I think you’re awesome for being here.

Jean Camille: I wanted to add something. That was a clear explanation by Eve. The goal of the GSR monthly meeting is to report, not to re-do the work. The subcommittees will do the work on their own. It’s yearly work on Service Structure, Finance, Literature, Public Information, Phone/Tech/Website committees. Subcommittees will do the work to prepare things, and the work is done throughout the year between World Service Conference meetings. The idea is to put together so we can become very efficient. So this is for people to understand what it means to create the structure. Thank you.

Mark: Great. Just to be transparent and clear, were there any other questions or comments about recording the meeting?

Steve from New York: I don’t like it. That’s why you have someone taking notes — it’s easier for the free flow of ideas, that it’s not going to be recorded. Who is going to have the recording? Who has access? It’s problematic, and I certainly didn’t like the idea that there was no notice in the reminders.

Jean Camille: It’s not a meeting per se. It’s a working committee. The person accessing the recording is the chair and the secretary. We need this for the purpose of keeping the motions in order and writing the minutes. It’s important, so you are free to not participate if you want to, but in order to work efficiently it’s necessary to keep the minutes.

Mark: At the WSC it was striking how the GSB was created, and how this came out of it. You do have to create something out of nothing, and while we’re doing this the recording can help at the level of transparency. So in the future anyone can listen to this in the future. Not being done secretly or privately. Not saying anything about how the general service board was created, but there were lots of questions that would be easily taken care of by making it transparent. So our only governing authority is a higher power.

Henasusha from Massachusetts: I think that in being part of our process is decision-making as a group. That’s one of the reasons we have this meeting. Since there is concern I think it would be only right to make it a motion and have a decision.

Jean Camille: Point of order. There is a chairperson Mark with an agenda, and we’re supposed to respect it for the first meeting so the subcommittees can get started and address the question of recording in the future. The Service Structure committee could bring a motion about recording. Our goal today is to populate the committees, and the subcommittees are free to bring this up in the future.

Mark asked if there were any other questions or objections about recording.

Tom from New York: One main issue is advance notice. There was a similar dynamic with the WSC. Very important any time anything is recorded in light of the anonymity, it’s a next time thing. Next time give advance notice. When people get surprised we eat up 25 minutes of quality business time talking about recordings when it could have been avoided with advance notice. Make sure we mention it ahead of time.

Eve: Point of clarification. Please chime in if I’m not getting this right. My understanding of the purpose of the recording is that this is not for public consumption. This is not, for example, going to be accessible on the website. This is to have a good clear record. Granted, we have a great note taker, but things get lost in translation. It seemed important to have an archive and a clear documentation. This was not something that everyone can access if they are not attending.

Jean Camille: Yes, the only people who will be able to access this are the secretary and the chairperson.

Mark: Ok, and as the chair I like Tom’s idea of discussing this for next time. But I would be in favor of others besides the secretary and the chair being able to hear it. But I agree. It should not be accessible to everyone. Is there anyone new on the call who wants to introduce themselves? (No.)

Mark: Now we’ll go to a nomination and volunteering for the various committees that were created at the WSC. Service Structure, Finance, Literature, Public Information, and Tech/Phone/Website. We broke into these groups at the WSC. People volunteered, and there were motions made by each committee.

Jean Camille: Each committee will be its own committee and will meet outside of this format and will work on motions to support the fellowship and the GSB. Service Structure will mostly work on the WSC. Finance to support the GSB in order to be solvent and prosperous, find ways to do distribution and so on. Literature is to create literature. Need writers, copywriters, etc. Public Information: find ways to connect with the public. Tech/phone/website: Address phone issues and find better ways to carry the message.

Each committee needs at least three people, including a chair and a secretary and a participant to make it work. Each committee will bring their own projects to the WSC. We can vote on things, but mostly we are going to communicate the work of each committee. So we need people to volunteer to serve on a committee. This means you would be willing to give one hour for your committee meeting, plus one hour for subcommittee meeting by phone, plus whatever work needs to be done. Plus, if you can make it to the conference itself.

Mark: Just to be clear, I was on the Literature committee, Matt was the chair/leader. And the Literature committee has agreed to have our first meeting. There was a previous Literature committee. Wednesday, Dec 28 at 8:30 PM Eastern. So that’s an example. Is it correct for me to assume that this Literature committee I’m talking about is the same thing we’re talking about?

Jean Camille: Yes.

Alison: Point of information. These committees are already formed, but they have been part of the structure for a while. Interim chair for Literature is Matt B. These committees are not only populated by GSR’s but also by members at large who are willing to step up and do service. My understanding is that the reason they are here is that it’s important to have a liaison from each committee to report back to the GSRs what is happening on each committee. The GSR Committee is not running these committees, because they are already formed. They may need volunteers. For example, PI is still looking for a chair.

Jean Camille: The GSB has committees, but there are only four people so not enough to populate every committee as the GSB. One person Matt B is the chair of the GSB committee for Literature. GSR is the body of the fellowship, and they are a committee of GSRs. But since there is no one else on the GSB committees, we are going to have to form them now. Some people might become GSB trustee or GSB chair, but so far they do not exist. So right now there are only four people taking care of the business of UA. We do not have population in the GSB committee because not enough people. So the GSRs are the seed of this thing where we are going to form these committees which are going to be the future of GSB committees. Right now there is only GSR committees. Is that clear?

Mark: Not exactly.

Alison: That is not clear.

Jean Camille: There are two bodies. There is the GSB, which has committees inside the GSB to run the business of UA. So far we have one person for financing, one person for chair, one person for vice chair, and one trustee, Matt B, who took on the work of chairing the GSB committee for Literature. There is a GSB body which on their own can do the work. They are not the ones who make decisions at the GSB level. We are not making executive decisions. We make suggestions and prepare the work. Today we will populate the GSR committees so the work can start so we can bring the work to the WSC.

Alison: There are already committees in place. There are lists of people, so for example Matt would have a list. There is also the Service Structure committee, which is what the GSR meeting is. This is where all the GSRs are. Yes, we need GSRs to join committees, and see who could step up and take over the role of the chair, because the committees report directly to GSB. So all these committees report directly to, and will be on the agenda for, the GSB and they already are on the agenda of the monthly GSB meetings. The head of the committee reports to the GSB and they have a back and forth.

Mark: So you’re saying the committees already exit, and this meeting is the Service Structure committee. I heard Jean Camille say that we need a person who is willing to be a liaison between each committee and the GSB.

Alison: And also to populate the committees. She doesn’t know who is on the committees. PI is looking for a chair. So they already exist. We don’t want to form extra extra committees. We want to populate committees that are already in place in our structure.

Eve: I feel like my understanding is a little different. My understanding is that the service structure and other committees have already been in existence. It’s not the same as the meeting we are all taking part in right now. The GSR monthly meeting will address this piece that was missing in the service structure when we made the motion to create the general service structure meeting. It is not the same thing. Number 2: Alison is right. These committees have existed for many years. The reason that Motion 2 was worded to create subcommittees was because a part of the GSB bylaws and how they were written. The GSB already have built into itself standing committees that exist. However, there needs to be more active involvement with the full fellowship, through the GSRs and also through the group members, who the GSRs report back to in their groups.

So by making the motion to create subcommittees basically they are there to more actively communicate within the meeting that we’re in right now, in the service of doing the same work that the standing committees already are doing. So it’s a way to have a conduit of information for all these committees and to bring in more active membership. We’re not trying to add duplicate committees. If you already belong to PI Committee, for example, you can continue. And someone may come out of this type of meeting, people can be added to the committee. The reason they were called subcommittees on this motion is because of the way the bylaws for the GSB were written. We could not just take the committees out of the GSB and put them somewhere else. They were reporting to the monthly GSB meeting. Does this make sense?

Mark: To clarify, you said that the motion was to create…?

Eve re-read Motion 1 about creating a GSR committee. The Service Structure committee is different, and has other members, not this group today. All the GSRs get to come together to communicate and then have direct communication with the GSB and be involved. She re-read Motion 2. These are all part of the same structure. We’re not trying to split it or separate it or duplicate it.

Mark: Where we are right now is the GSR committee. The Service Structure committee will continue to operate, as will all the other committees.

Eve: The Service Structure committee is just one of the committees that we are talking about. No different from Tech or Finance, etc.

Alison: Point of information: Nominate and volunteer for SS, F, Lit, PI, Tech/Phone committees. I don’t see GSR meeting on the list. I saw the GSRs as being under Service Structure. I don’t see GSR committee on this line item.

Mark: We can address the distinction between the GSR meeting and the service structure committee.

Athena from New York: The committees are already established and populated, and we would like a rep from each committee who is a GSR who is willing to come back every month and give a report on that committee to the GSR meeting. I took it as nominating or volunteering for the subcommittees as anyone who is a GSR who wants to get involved. Like we don’t take off the chairperson. Someone can step up and take up that position, but don’t have to remove current chair. My understanding is that this meeting of GSRs would be populated by subcommittees and someone would report back to the GSR meeting. We would be a bridge between the actual traditional way that it’s done and have a subcommittees and the GSR meeting.

Maggie: The GSR meeting is not a committee. Each GSR belongs to one of these committees, so you attend the GSR meeting and your committee meeting.

Jean Camille: I think we should follow the motion which has been voted to form the committee. The liaison to the GSB will sort it out later. It’s very important to start the work of UA. Twelve people have already volunteered to join the committee. We should start and populate so we have something to work with so next meeting we can start.

Mark: 1) The reason I called this the GSR committee is that’s what it was called in the motion. 2) To clarify and simplify could we just read a roll call and each person could say what committee you might be interested in working on. Just a straw poll. We’ll see whether any committee will be underpopulated.

Clara: We’re all saying the same thing. We have half an hour left. If we could make a distinction between the GSR meeting and the service structure meeting, and get clarity about what each committee will do. Then nominate and get a chair and secretary for this meeting so we can have structure to move forward right now. Then the rest will fall into place. Let’s take care of in house first before we move out.

Mark: This is the GSR committee. Let’s move forward. Thought we would get a chair today afterwards. Let’s see where people stand in terms of the committees. We’ll assume that the Service Structure committee is separate from this GSR committee.

Clara: So I may be wrong, but I thought this meeting was so we could determine who was a chair of this particular meeting. I thought we would first lay down the structure within this particular group.

Jean Camille: We had volunteers step up to chair and secretary for this meeting today. We can change who is chair and secretary, but right now it’s time to populate the committees. We need more than the four people on the GSB. If we do not populate the committees there is nothing. Next month we can speak in detail we can get a chair person.

Clara: Thank you for clarifying.

Eve: I’m not a GSR, but I won’t be voting on this. I will also say that when we asked two people to step up to do service, I was not assuming that we were asking me for more than one go. What Alison was saying is that the committees need more people who are actively involved with them. I’m not sure I agree with great urgency about having everything populated. Some people will continue, and some may not. I like what Clara was putting forward.

Mark: I only want to be the chair this month, unless you ask me to do something else I will consider it. I would like to go through the roll and see which committee you might want to be on. Not binding.

Took roll call and asked people to volunteer for committees.

Mark B, Interim Chair, Bronx Group in NY: Literature

Maggie, Thursday Night Prosperity: Finance

Clara, East 7:15 Underearning and Solvency phone meeting: Literature

Geri, New Jersey, 9:45 Eastern ST Step and Tools phone meeting: Service Structure

Pam, Colorado, 8:30 Heartfelt Prosperity step and tools: Literature

Fay, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem: Public Information

Marcia, Wednesday Night 7 PM Worth in Action: Literature

Athena, NY, 12:15 AM Monday daily prosperity and vitality meeting: Literature

Greg, Altadena, Thursday Night 730 PM Prosperity meeting: Literature

Tom, UA NYC Sunday 11 AM meeting: (No response)

Wayne in Canada just listening in. Public Information

Alison, GSB, Vice Chair. Here to welcome everyone. Just here for 30 minutes.

Ed W, NY, Upper West Side Visions Meeting of Manhattan, Wednesday nights: Literature

Steve, GSR Intuition and Clarity phone meeting on Sundays: Service Structure

Eve B. NYC, member at large, attended the WSC: Service Structure

Pam asked if you have to be a GSR to be on a committee. Mark said no.

Henasusha, Massachusetts, Amherst Steps to Prosperity meeting Monday night: Public Information

Eliya, Los Angeles, Saturday Farmers Market meeting 11:00: Service Structure then changed to Tech/Phone/Website

Shawn, New York: Literature

Mark asked if anyone wanted to be on Tech phone website.

Eliya: I could be on Tech/Phone, but I have no experience with technology, but I can help make decisions.

Mark: Great, thank you, Eliya!

Mark: Should we have someone to chair the next meeting?

Eve: Next item is summary of service positions for voting in January. So we need a chairperson and secretary.

Jean Camille: Would you be willing to lead one more time? That will give us time to clarify everything, define the role, and get a chairperson.

Maggie: We will need a secretary for the next meeting, because I will not be doing this next month. Wayne from Canada volunteered.

Mark asked who would be willing to be the secretary for our next meeting.

Wayne from Canada: I could. 204 999 0283. Email wayne.chartrand2015@nullgmail.com. He will be in touch with Maggie to find out more about what is required.

Mark: It would be nice to have an easy email so everyone here can send an email to one person. I’m happy to give mine. Mark’s email is mark.nyc.12@nullgmail.com. Everyone please send me an email who and where you are so we can coordinate.

Greg: When are we meeting next?

Jean Camille: Same time, third Sunday? January 15th 1 PM Eastern Time, 10 AM Pacific. Same number and access code.

Mark: Does anyone object to that time? Please let everyone know.

Steve: I’d like to make a couple comments. #1 the recording was only for the purposes of the secretary being able to access it. Not a record for posterity, and not public. #2 I think there were 15 GSR’s on this meeting. 27 at the WSC, so today we have about 2/3 of that. Over 100 different groups that couldn’t get to the WSC. I don’t know if there has been reach out to them. Could be worked on at our next meeting. Consider rotating chairs and rotating meeting times for the GSR meetings. #3 I think there is a fundamental disagreement about these committees. Creating versus already in existence. I sat on the Service Structure committee so we don’t duplicate effort. GSB is not a secret behind the scenes thing but that it actually has transparency and is responsive to the membership who has GSRs that report back to their meetings. Need to make recommendations to the other GSR’s. It’s great that a lot of people want to work on literature. Consider having rotating chairs and rotating times for the meeting. He had to leave his phone meeting to be here.

Jean Camille: We’re out of time.

Mark: Your point is well taken about representation of all the groups, but perhaps we can reach out to others for better attendance. I do see a role for the Service Structure committee working on that.

Eve: Speak to the question of who received emails. The UA first responder (Rita) sent out the multiple invitations to this meeting. It’s an imperfect list, but it was more inclusive than just who attended the WSC. It can be made more abundant before the next meeting.

Pam: It was worked on.

Maggie: I think we’d have a better chance of getting everybody to attend if we send out advance notice a month ahead of time.

Mark: Thank everyone for being here. And for doing service and for being on your best behavior.

Henasusha: How do we put items on new business? My item would be a discussion of the time. The date and the time for this meeting.

Jean Camille: We chose that time European people to choose that time.

Ed: I’d like to see on the agenda a discussion of ratification of the bylaws. The fellowship should ratify them.

Mark: Here’s my email. Please write me with thoughts and concerns: mark.nyc.12@nullgmail.com. Recording: let’s discuss it more at the next meeting.

Thanks to Maggie and Marcia for taking notes and to Eve and Jean Camille for doing a lot of work to prepare for this. And thanks to everyone for all your comments.

Serenity prayer.

The meeting ended at 2:33 PM Eastern Time.

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