Today was definitely a busy one and we took care of a lot of business. I’m not going to day much about the outcome of things. Until the Conference is closed and we aren’t conducting business it’s probably best not to say anything. But there’s still plenty to report…
We started the morning with easy stuff. Easy for the Conference, difficult for the those on-stage, but only for two minutes. We heard more Area highlights from the Panel 67 Delegates. I’m so glad I did ours back on Monday, one less thing to worry about. It’s not actually that stressful, but we all want to do well, so it’s on our minds. We heard from the East Central Region and the West Central Region. If you want to see where those are, check the A.A. Regional Map.
Next up we began listening to Committee Reports and voting on their recommendations and discussing their Additional Committee Considerations. Recommendations are generally specific requests for an action of some sort, developing a plan, adding or removing text, creating new material, and so on. Additional Committee Considerations are where the committee says that they considered an agenda item and took no action, or decided to make a suggestion.
First up was the Conference Committee on Treatment and Accessibilities. The full procedure for a committee report is actually a very interesting, and fair, way of doing business. First the report, which has been compiled by our hard working staff, is signed off on by the committee chair. This happens prior to distribution to the Conference. Complete copies of each report are given the Conference and we begin full Conference deliberation.
To start the committee chair reads the report exactly as written with no explanation or commentary. We have the document in front of us so we all follow along. Next, should their be recommendations, each is taken in turn. This year business is being conducted by Greg T. the GSO Manager and he did a great job of keeping things moving while allowing everyone to have their say.
This Committee had only one recommendation. Greg reads it and asks for discussion. Those wishing to discuss the item line up at the microphones, we have three, and say their piece. While many folk do speak for or against a recommendation, quite often a question is asked. When that happens the committee chair has the opportunity to answer the question or explain the committees reasoning as appropriate. If it’s a question that requires an answer from a trustee or a staff member they come to the microphone and share their knowledge.
In the case of the first committee up their only recommendation passed, and I’ll let you know about it all once the Conference is complete, but passing the recommendation isn’t really the interesting bit in their case. Rather it was the discussion that followed on their additional committee considerations. Just as with a recommendation folks have a lot to say and ask a lot of question.
Mostly the questions are excellent, bringing up points perhaps the committee hadn’t considered. But sometimes, as with anything in life, the are just a bit off topic. Mostly this happens when someone asks if the committee had discussed alternatives to the agenda item not mentioned in the background material. Think of a simple question like “should AA buy cake?” A question might come up asking if the committee had considered, “should AA buy pie?” The answer to that would probably be no, because the committee wasn’t asked to consider it and there was no background material on pie. Clear enough?
The second committee to come up was the Conference Committee on the A.A. Grapevine. Again they had only one recommendation and many additional committee considerations. This recommendation I will mention because the outcome, or rather, lack of outcome was interesting and shows how we use our modified Robert’s Rules of Order. It’s really a lot like the way we use them in our assemblies and committee meetings only a with a little stricter eye towards correctness.
The item that came up was the item about allowing the committee to have a conference call 60 days before the Conference. As soon as it came up for this committee a member came to the mike and suggested we table the motion. You see not all the committees had finished their work and as each committee has the same agenda item, only specific to their committee, it would not be right to discuss it in general session before those committees had completed their discussion. Keep in mind, just because my committee was done doesn’t mean everyone was finished. That doesn’t mean they weren’t doing their job, just that they either had a lot of items to go through, or the items were particularly difficult to decide (or not decide).
With the motion tabled, we discussed their additional consideration.
We then began work on the topics for Policy and Admissions, my committee. The first recommendation we discussed didn’t take much time but the second created a lot of discussion. So much in fact that we broke for lunch just as a motion to recommit was made. A motion to recommit is a request from the Conference to send this agenda item back to the Trustees for more consideration. We would have to wait on that vote till after lunch though.
Lunch was not a break by any means. Today was another lunch by region – with business. We had to decide who we would put forward as our regional nominee for Trustee-at-Large/US. This is a huge job involving, according to the current one, some 100 days on the road. I explained a bit of this job in an earlier post so I won’t repeat it, it’s big.
The procedure we used was for each delegate with a candidate to speak for up to 2 minutes on why his or her area’s choice should be put forward. After we’d each shared, though one area did not have a candidate, we used the 3rd legacy procedure just as we do back home. I’m sorry to report that, despite my best efforts, Scott C., our nominee was not selected. The selection when to Monte S. from Utah. Now keep in mind that this didn’t give him the job, it was simply our region’s choice for nominee to the full Conference.
We also made our selection for the location of the 2020 Pacific Regional Forum. It most likely will be Las Vegas pending approval at GSO and their ability to work out the time and contracts. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you informed and remember, we have the 2018 PRF to hold first, in San Jose from September 7-9.
We had little time to eat actually, and scurried back to the Conference floor.
When we got back it was time for elections. The Trustee-at-Large/US wasn’t the only trustee position up for election. The East Central Region and South East Regions both elected their Regional Trustee (think Joel C. but in a different region).
The entire Conference doesn’t take part in the election but we are present. Again the elections are by Third Legacy Procedure, just like at home. And in both elections the decision went to the hat. We use that same procedure in Hawaii and will do it again in 2018 at our Elections Assembly.
I should note that even though I wasn’t voting for either of these candidates I played a large part in the proceedings. Actually it wasn’t so much me as my hat. Yes, I was sitting up front and was one of the few folks with a hat so…my hat chose two new regional trustees…very Harry Potter if you ask me.
Then it was time to elect our next Trustee-at-Large/US. This time all the US delegates could vote (as well as some others). As I said, sadly our choice was not in the running, each region can only put forth one choice. And this time the Third Legacy Procedure came down to…yes…down to the hat. My hat.
I feel sort of special, though in truth I did nothing but bring a hat with and sit up front. But I will have a great introduction to those three new trustees when I meet them!
The elections took a lot more time than the schedulers had planned. Keep in mind going to the hat involves a number of votes to begin with, and in this case I think they all went the distance before the hat. Not a problem though, we can work late.
It was time for dinner. I took a short walk to keep the blood moving and get some fresh air before I went in. I had dinner with a Bob, the outgoing Trustee-at-Large/US, and he keep going outside to call the newly elected trustee and let him know the outcome. Also there were one of our great non-alcoholic trustees, Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle. I’d met him first in Hawaii at the Pacific Regional Forum and he’s a great dinner companion. In truth everyone here is a great dinner companion (hope I am too). We have a great time breaking bread and doing what we do best, sharing in the language of the heart.
After dinner we heard presentations on Contributions. The specific topics were:
- Spirituality and Money
- Fully Self-Supporting Our Obligations
- Apathy and Power of the Purse
I have copies of them and can see that you see them if you like, but it’s too late at night and I start too early to think about it now. It’s almost midnight and I’ll be up early again and back at it. They were good presentations though and plenty of food for thought. How would you address those topics? Why not let me know?
After that we got back to the work of the Conference and got back to voting on recommendations. We finished up Policy and Admissions and mostly the Conference agreed with our decisions which showed we’d done our work, and you yours. Of course having the Conference turn down a recommendation isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It means that the Conference process really does work and that when we gather collectively and ask our higher powers to be present we can be sure that we are doing the absolute best we can do at the time.
I’m very happy with our work on the Policy and Admissions committee and that’s thanks to you and a whole lot of other AAs just like you in home areas of each member of that committee who did the same work you did and did it well.
When we broke we were still on the Literature Committee’s work. They too had a lot of items and there’s lots to share on this one when I get home. I will say this, their recommendations brought up a lot of discussion (money and changing literature are probably the two things that’ll bring everyone to the microphone – and just in case you are worried none of this involved the Big Book). We had votes, minority opinion, reconsiderations due to vote changes, a motion to amend the motion (did not pass), and even another motion to recommit.
That last one, a motion to recommit, brought me to the floor. I was against the recommit (sending the whole thing back to the Trustees). It involved adding one word to a sentence and while I absolutely agree it was an important word to either add or leave off, I couldn’t believe that 125 voting members couldn’t come to a decision over that, especially when we had much more important stuff to do. That’s what I told them. The motion to recommit did not pass and we went forward with our vote. Did it pass? I’ll let you know when I get back.
And that was it for day four. We’ll be hard at work tomorrow early. We’ve a lot ahead of us and we’ll stay at it till it’s done.
But right now I’m done. It’s been amazing to watch this process unfold and, though it’s a bit bigger and has better audio-visual equipment, it’s a lot like conference we held at the ITD. That was great preparation for this and I thank you all for working so hard to Inform the Delegate.
I’m honored and humbled that you’ve allowed me to participate in this process. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
A hui hou kakou, malama pono.
Yours in loving service,
Hawaii Area 17
Panel 67 Delegate