The Trustees of the General Service Board act in two primary capacities: (a) With respect to the larger matters of over-all policy and finance, they are the principal planners and administrators. They and their primary committees directly manage these affairs. (b) But with respect to our separately incorporated and constantly active services, the relation of the Trustees is mainly that of full stock ownership and of custodial oversight which they exercise through their ability to elect directors of these entities.
Concept 8 deals with the manner in which the Trustees of the General Service Board discharge their obligations and delegate their executive function to its two subsidiary corporations: A.A. World Services, Inc., and the A.A. Grapevine, Inc. The Trustees are the guarantors of good management of A.A. World Services, Inc. and the A.A. Grapevine, Inc. The Trustees of the General Service Board meet this daunting responsibility by electing the Directors of these service arms, a part of whom must always be trustees. The executive direction of these functions is embedded in the service corporations themselves, rather than the General Service Board. Each corporate service entity should possess its own bylaws, its own working capital, its own executives, its own employees, its own offices and equipment. Thus the Trustees are not burdened or distracted by the little details and endless questions which arise daily in the routine operation of the General Service Office or the publishing operations, including the Grapevine.
When this concept was written, Bill emphasized that an early mistake of the General Service Board was trying to run the service functions directly. The result was “too much concentration of money and authority.” The board must devote itself almost exclusively to the larger questions of policy, finance, group relations and leadership. The board’s attitude must be that of custodial oversight.
Concept 8 has served us well since 1962. But much has changed in the financial picture the last 60 years. The separate service corporations of A.A. World Services, Inc. and the A.A. Grapevine, Inc. are facing huge challenges in this area. This separation has, to date, allowed us to avoid the concentration of money and authority. We have placed our reserve funds with the Trustees, and divided our total working capital between A.A. World Services, Inc. and The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., each entity having its separate executive. Maintaining this separation may not be enough to meet the challenges we now face. Concept 8 may be in need of a change. A plan to change our separately incorporated structure (introduced by Ward Ewing, Class A Trustee) will be submitted to the 63rd General Service Conference.
As we write this article, 93 Delegates, 21 Trustees, our A.A.W.S and Grapevine Directors along with the General Service Office and Grapevine staff members are all working hard at finding a “needful change”. We pray that their efforts are fruitful.
Shirley and Mike O.
Panel 51 and Panel 55 respectively