March 12, 2016

ACA WSO Teleconference Meeting Minutes

Chair, Larry A. opened the meeting with the Serenity Prayer and the reading of Tradition Three:    The only requirement for membership in ACA is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.    

Attendees:  Larry A, Mary Jo, Majbrit, Ines – Quorum was established.

Guest Introductions:  Irene (CT) x5; Patty (CO); John (PA) x3; Mikko (Denmark) x4; Tom (Boston, MA) x2; Mona (Chicago) x 4 years; Bonnie (San Antonio) x1.5 years); Jeffrey (Prague, Literature & Finance Committee, European Finance & Lit) x7; Susan (NY) x 10+; Bill (Miami, ABC Planning & WSO Fin) x5; Matt (Fitchburg, WI) x11; Marietta (CT, Intergroup Rep for Telephone Meeting USA Intergroup) x 23; Robin (TX); 

Chair, Larry A. then extended an invitation to members who have been attending the TC meetings to consider committee participation.


Motion brought forward by Secretary, Ines Z. to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2015 ACA WSO Teleconference Meeting.  Motion tabled to April 2016.  

Committee Reports:

TREASURER’S REPORT AND FINANCE COMMITTEE (Chair:  Mary Lo):  Mary Jo reported that the financial statements (P/L and Balance Sheet) and full report are linked to the repository.  The 7th Tradition Contributions are listed on the “Donation Receipt” sub-tab under Treasurer’s Report.  Mary Jo asked that, if there were any contributions incorrectly attributed to anonymous donor or the wrong meeting, to please email, [email protected] for corrections.  Mary Jo further reported that the Balance Sheet shows assets, liabilities and equity and as was noted in the full report, some of the funds available will go to hiring additional staff in the near future and supplies and expenses that go along with that as well as ABC expenses.  The Profit and Loss Statement shows that both last month and the accumulated year to date figures are in the positive column.  The last line in the Profit and Loss Statement shows that income for February was $16,325.  Mary Jo noted there were some entries for the ABC, both invoices that have been paid for the facility through February along with other things.  There is also a negative number that represents the money that has been taken in so far for registrations and rooms that have been reserved for the ABC.  For the most part the numbers balance each other out at this point.  

For the Finance Committee, Mary Jo reported that she, Jeffrey and Bill, who are also on the committee, have discussed items that have had some overlap with other committees including items that the Board is working on.  They are aware of that and they try to approach things from a financial risk management perspective, which is the mission of the Finance Committee.  Setting up additional cost centers is a discussion topic with the growth of the European Committee.  Jeffrey has been working on that with the (European) committee.  Mary Jo stated it would require determining appropriate budgets and how funds will be handled most easily prior to submitting a proposal to the Board.  Bill spoke to the accountant about how to most easily set up the cost centers and was told that it could be done through QuickBooks fairly reasonably although it may require an upgrade to a newer version of QuickBooks, all of which will be part of the proposal made to the Board when ready.  Mary Jo also reported that Bill was also working on media mail with the office staff to hopefully be able to implement that.  Discussions have begun on general fiscal policy as it applies to the OPPM and the committee will be making some suggestions or enhancements to that document.  Mary Jo asked Jeffrey and Bill if they had anything to add, both of which stated they had nothing further to add.  Mary Jo ended the report by thanking Bill and Jeffrey for their hard work.

LITERATURE COMMITTEE – Larry:  Chair, Larry A. reminded everyone that all full committee reports were posted on the repository.  Larry went on to highlight the sales of electronic Big Red Books and audio books.  eBig Red Books are closely approaching 10,000 sales and the audio Big Red Book have surpassed 1,000 sales.  Larry indicated that there was a plan to put out a commemorative fellowship text later on this year and that work on that will begin after the ABC.  He also reported that there will be a Literature Committee Meeting on April 2, 2016 in the morning so it can be accessible to those overseas.  Larry closed the report and reminded all that questions can be sent to [email protected].  

  Robin – Special Worker: Robin reported that there was nothing really new going on just maintenance of what has been going on in previous months.  Robin did say she received some exciting news in that notification from Greece was received to expect the Meditation Book in Greek and that they are coming along well with translation of the Big Red Book.  Robin reported that a full report is posted in the repository and that if there were any questions they could be directed to [email protected]  

Spanish Translations – Ines:Ines reported that there were no updates at this time, work still in progress.  

ComLine – Phyllis- (Reported by Larry) Larry stated that Phyllis is not on the call but she is always looking for contributors, so if you have a story, a share, a poem, or art, please send it in to [email protected] so it can be published on the ComLine.  The next addition is due to come out at end of March but you can find the full timeline on the website.

ACA WSO DC Oversight Committee & Distribution Office -Mary Jo:  Mary Jo reported that the Distribution Committee and the Oversight Committee was not able to meet in February, but they have a scheduled meeting on Monday, March 14, 2016 and there are several things on the agenda to deal with.  

ACA DISTRIBUTION OFFICE –Mary Jo: Mary Jo indicated that Gloria has uploaded the Product Sales Reports on to the repository.  As far as meetings go, there are currently 1,562 active meetings, which is good as we are maintaining over 1,500 meetings.  Additionally, there are 58 active intergroups which shows a significant increase over the last couple of months.    

MEMBER AND PUBLIC SERVICE (Chair, Vacant):  Larry reported that the Chair for this committee is now vacant but the subcommittees can give their reports, then giving the floor to Bonnie.  Bonnie stated that Joan had provided the Member and Public Service report which she then read for the record.  The report read:  About 5 orders of various items, mostly Big Red Books and Workbooks were sent out in February.  Several emails were sent responding to questions on how to do H & I work.  Request for information on how to start H & I work is steadily increasing.  Since the H & I Guidelines Handbook is now on the website, people are referred to that for guidance.  I would like to remind ACA members, that treatment centers fall into the Hospitals and Institutions category, so if you have treatment programs in your area, you could check with them to see if they are interested in having Big Red Books in their library for patient reading.  Submitted by Joan B., H & I Committee Chair, March 11, 2016.

Special Worker, Denise (Read by Larry):  Larry stated that the Special Worker has provided a report which he will read for the record.  The report read:  From February 1st, 2016 through February 29, 2016 there were 641 emails received; 408 emails were sent.  Vonage Voicemails were 95.  International connections that were made during the month were:  Canada, Latvia, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland and UK.  Lights on at Faroe Island, they are starting their very first meeting.  Teamwork, as always I thank WSO and all involved in assisting me with helpful information and feedback to provide the most helpful information to all of our Adult Children that are reaching out for assistance.  Also, Vonnie who has volunteered with helping with MPS with voicemails and questions that I have needed help with; thank you so much for your service Vonnie.  From the fellowship, most common emails are about finding meetings, meeting changes, how to start a meeting, and literature order information.  Most voicemails are about finding meetings, meeting changes, literature and order information.  There were a lot of newcomers this month asking for assistance about ACA and meeting information.      

Hospitals & Institutions – included in MPS report above.

Intergroup Liaison-Bonnie: Bonnie reported that email traffic at [email protected] remained steady with about 30 incoming messages generating about 26 responses.  This month only 6 were forwarded to Denise.  Direct contact through the [email protected] steadily increases.  Bonnie stated there was another inquiry about defining an intergroup service area.  She anticipated more of these as the discounts roll out.  She noted that several intergroups had inadvertently created a double listing when attempting to update their information.  It seems that the online form defaults to a new registration unless they manually change it when filling out the form.  When noted, these were promptly corrected.  Waiting time for listing and updates has decreased in general.  Bonnie stated that at least one intergroup gratefully noted receiving a confirmation message for their update.  Another intergroup’s listing was mistakenly deleted perhaps mistakenly by the group doing the update.  New intergroups continue to form as evidenced by the number Mary Jo reported previously but we are still not getting notification of new registrations. Bonnie mentioned they are exploring outside venues for committee teleconferencing as well as an intergroup list-serv.  Bonnie closed by reminding everyone that the Intergroup and H & I reports were posted in the repository.  

Mary Jo asked, if it was when the special worker added new intergroups or made changes, that they were not getting notification?  Bonnie respondeded that was correct and that she was not sure if there was an automated mechanism that has been set up.  

Larry stated that in regards to notifications, Gloria had agreed to send on all of the intergroup registrations that she receives.  So if Bonnie, had not received those, it may be that she hasn’t done any intergroup registrations recently or if not, she may need to be reminded to make sure to copy Bonnie or, if that doesn’t work out to inform him (Larry) so that he can look into whether the programmers can program an automatic copy to Bonnie. 

WEBSITE AND DATABASE COMMITTEELarry A.:  Larry reported that the Hospitals and Institutions Guidelines has been added to the “literature” tab off of the “Home Page”, click on “literature”  and the last item is a free download of that book available for meetings that wish to get involved in doing Hospitals and Institutions work.  Additionally, over the course of the month the organizational chart that was produced in July 2015 has been added to the repository under “The ACA/WSO Corporation” “Corporate Information,” on the left-hand menu.  He also reported that he was unable to use the analytics to get usage data as there was a quirk that was showing that there were 27 visitors over the course of a month which is not accurate at all.  A ticket has been put in to have that reviewed.  Additionally, the programmers have been asked to quote several projects, some have been started and some are new, one of them being the request from the Intergroup Liaison Committee to see what a forum would cost to set up.    The committee is working hard to bring the website up to date and to bring all the parts of the website under one umbrella.  

Jeffrey asked if there was any historical data regarding visits to the website from outside of the United States?  Larry stated that once the problems are resolved, they can customize the analysis since it is historical it should be able to be accessed.

EUROPEAN COMMITTEE Majbrit: Majbrit reported that this month has been big for the European Fellowship as a number of countries have signed translation agreements with the WSO; Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands.  Norway has submitted their translated, free to download, literature for approval for the website.  Sweden has received approval for a flyer invitation for a convention for the Swedish fellowship on the 23rd of April.  Additionally, the Swedes are opening their first English speaking meeting and have asked for literature to use for that meeting.  Regarding the Netherlands, the Dutch Fellowship is having their second annual ACA Day on the 9th of April, which Majbrit has been invited to attend.  They will be getting their translation for their free download literature on their website as well.  Italy has submitted a piece of literature like the basic five.  They are also working on their translation for their free download for the WSO website and they have begun the translation of the Big Red Book.  Latvia will be signing a translation agreement later this month.  The progress of translating is slow because English is spoken by less than 1% of the fellowship.  Russia, the Big Red Book in Russia will be a huge impact on the translation process in the Eastern European countries east of the Vistula River because many people speak Russian.  Faroe Island, they established their first ACA meeting and will receive the “Lights On” Starter Kit.  Majbrit has been in contact with them to see if it would be more practical to get a Danish Big Red Book since Danish is their second language, having been a part of the Danish Crown.  Majbrit mentioned the 3rd Annual ACA European event for Netherlands, Sweden and Russia from the 23rd to the 25th of September have been posted on the WSO website.  This was decided in Helsinki last year.  Majbrit talked about doing service in Riga Latvia on the 13th of February at their conference.  She said she was greeted with warmth and there were about 80 to 100 members present including representatives from Italy and Sweden and more than half of the attendees stayed for the service meeting.  Majbrit said her talk was translated into Russian, Estonian and Lithuanian.  A full report will be uploaded into the repository.  Majbrit said there has been contact with Switzerland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Faroe Island, Greece, Germany, Spain, Norway and Italy.  At least four countries communicated via Skype.  

Jeffrey read the report for the European Finance Committee and Secretary’s information.  Jeffrey stated that he is acting as Secretary for the European Committee until a plan and job descriptions are put in place and then invitations to fill the role will be extended to the fellowship.  To date, a new teleconference facility has been established to facilitate the monthly calls using local phone numbers for at least 33 countries in Europe and 30 other countries around the world.  This will allow people to be able to call in from their mobile phone with a possible app.  Poor Wi-Fi connections has been problematic and the new service will allow the ability to record the call and present a more professional setup to allow for minutes to be taken etc.  

Regarding the Finance subcommittee, Jeffrey stated historical information was still being gathered to complete a budget such as, where does literature get sold in Europe (being provided by Mary Jo).  Larry is also helping to provide information on eBooks sold in Europe, 7 Traditions Contributions, etc. to get an idea of what is coming from Europe and how things will affect the budget.  Setting a website for Europe is also being discussed. Jeffrey stressed that the information gap between Europe and the US is very big. It is sometimes difficult to get needed information in the European Countries and there is a lot of information out there about Europe that has not been resourced yet that needs to be shared to help inspire others to see what’s going on and share best practices. 

Regarding the literature subcommittee, Jeffrey stated it’s really about working with other countries in Europe on particular issues to help alleviate the main problem in Europe which is about the cost of getting literature at an affordable rate either in local language or in English language.  Ongoing work is setting up Amazon in the UK so they can start getting literature for sale in the UK, English language books. The committee is also looking to do something similar with literature in Danish.  They are waiting for someone to come back to Denmark to help progress that further as they have had experience with that.  Additionally, Jeffrey said they had received a request on their monthly teleconference, from the Russian intergroup regarding their Big Red Book which has now been submitted and translated into Russian, and they would like to explore how to publish it in Russia.  As such a proposal has been put together for the Board’s consideration but is on hold while finishing gathering information.  The argument being that all the other 12 Step Fellowships in Russia print their materials in Russia, so hoping that ACA could do the same.  Jeffrey then reported that Greece is becoming active and so the race is on to see about getting Greek literature also at an affordable rate.  Due to the financial climate in Greece, affordability and fund transfers could become a problem.  

Majbrit added to the report by stating she has been working the Laundry List Workbook in Europe.  

Ines thanked Jeff for all of his work and then asked what the vetting process was for the books that were translated in other languages?  The Spanish committee is currently vetting the Big Red Book translations that were submitted to edit them to an international Spanish where it could be understood by all Spanish speaking countries.  Larry responded that the Russian’s have provided the translated Big Red Book and the literature committee was in the process of getting some quotes.  What initially happens, The Spanish translation is going through an intermediary step as they received the Big Red Book from the Spaniards and WSO decided long ago that they wanted to have an international Spanish.  The process that Spanish Translation Committee has been involved in for the past 4 years is trying to get those translations into international Spanish.  With regard to other languages that don’t have the difficulty of having a universally accepted form, the translation is sent to an agency that will do a spot check, checking for grammar, word usage, sentences construction and things like that.  The committee has one quote from the company we generally use and at least one quote from another agency.  That information will be brought to the Board next month for a vote.  Once that is resolved, the next phase is production.  The process is different because of the different ways that the language is spoken; Spanish is spoken across the globe.

OPPM REVIEW COMMITTEE Mary Jo and Ines:  Report given by Ines.  Ines stated that there was no meeting during the past week.  Joan has stepped down from the Committee.  Ines gave a personal thank you to Joan for her service on the OPPM Committee, MPS Chair and as a Board Member.  Her work in helping to bring the work forward is appreciated.  Ines then reported that the OPPM committee is in the final stretch of the first review of the OPPM.  Mary Jo and Ines will continue to meet to complete the final part of the OPPM to share with the Board for comment.  Mary Jo also extended a thank you to Joan for all of her hard work and service.  

Larry and Majbrit also extended thank you’s to Joan for her devotion and service and noting that she will be missed.  Larry expressly pointed out her work on the H & I Guidelines that was completed and placed on the website. Larry added that he hopes other countries will use these guidelines and have it translated to other languages as well.  

2016 ABC LIASON:  Larry noted that there was a full report in the repository.  

Bill D. (FL) reported that the committee is looking forward to everyone sharing in the event next month.  Bill reported that there were now six workshops, three speakers, six meetings and two play-time workshops.  Additionally, there will be a pool-splash, play shop, the full-moon labyrinth fire circle, yoga, a dance party and an ice-cream social.  Bill said it will be a weekend full of fun for the inner child; relaxation and a getaway on a lovely five-acre retreat facility.  Bill then reported that due to the overwhelming response, the WSO has extended the registration date two weeks till March 25th.  He added there had been a request from Russia to transmit the videos of the speaker meetings via Skype or other format so they can watch them there.  The committee is also working on audio streaming of the ABC; the details are to be finalized shortly.  Bill stated there will be a committee gathering at his home on April 3rd, everyone is invited to attend as they are working on putting together the binders for the ABC delegates, printing name badges, etc.  

Larry added that every year the ABC moves to different state, and every six years or so it goes abroad.  The Floridians have been very helpful.  They have about 50 volunteers helping to make sure the experience is smooth and enjoyable.  “Thank you to those many nameless volunteers that are working very hard to make us comfortable and to host us for the ABC/AWC, specifically with Bill who has had to corral all that positive energy and channel it into something positive for all of us.  Thank you Bill and thank you to everyone who is participating in this effort.”

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Majbrit/Larry: Majbrit reported the approval of 1,200 hard cover meditation books.  This order is not greater than a previous maximum order, the Executive Board approves anything less than a previous maximum order.  If we are exceeding a previous maximum, a formal motion is made, otherwise that only approval that is required.


No Old Business

New Business:

  1. Motion: To approve the extension of the Centauria IT service contract at $90/hour for up to 22 hours per month.

Background:  The current service contract expired on March 1, 2016.  The Website and Database Committee recommends continuing the contract for another year.

Second (Ines) – Motion passes unanimously.

This concludes our agenda.  Thank you all very much.

Any guest comments or questions?

Summary of guest comments:  Guest comments focused primarily on:

Q:  Will the conference meetings be up on the website at a later date for those that could not attend?  A:  (Larry) We should be getting a tape of the 3 speakers, but am not sure about the workshops.  The Board has not decided if the materials will be put on the website but there is a plan to offer a live streaming type of service, but the committee will look into possibly making that happen.  Q:   How far ahead are the annual ABC conference planned, is there a site for next year planned already?  A: (Larry) No there has not been a site for next year as yet.  The plan is to post a request for proposals from groups that may want to host in 2017 after this year’s conference is done.  If any group is interested in putting in an offer or proposal, you can send it in now.  To avoid confusion an official post will not be made until after the 2016 ABC.  Q:  Where can you get a template or guideline about what is looked for?  A: (Larry) A letter that outlines all the particulars needed from a host committee.  The information will be posted in the repository under 2017 ABC shortly after wrap-up of the 2016 ABC.  Briefly what is needed a room to host meetings, affordable accommodations in the area, etc.; Q:  Can the ACA Promises be put back on the back cover of the Meditation Books/Affirmation Book? A: (Larry) The reason they were taken off is because we are in the process of putting barcodes on all of the books so it can be sold through e-retailors, and the layout didn’t allow for that but will look into having it back.  Q:  Has the intergroup discount rate online order situation been sorted out?  A: (Larry) It is still being worked on by the programmers but should be completed shortly.  As a reminder to participate there is enrollment process involved that is under the “New” tab off the “Home” page so that the intergroup has access to the discounted shopping cart.  Reminder all information regarding the intergroup discounts and ordering would be on the website including an excel spreadsheet to assist in figure out your order amounts.  Ines reminded that structure may change in the future.  Q:  Does the information on intergroup discount also pertain to European intergroups as well?  A:  (Larry) Yes.

Announcements: Larry – The next ACA WSO Board Teleconference is scheduled April 9, 2016at 2:00 p.m. EST.   

ABC/AWC is April 22nd through 24th 2016 in Del Ray Beach, Florida.  Information is under Fellowship Alerts or in the Repository.  

Is there a motion to adjourn the meeting? 2nd to the motion?

Ines – Motions to adjourn

Mary Jo – Second the motion

Are there any questions or comments about the motion to adjourn the meeting?

Motion carried unanimously.

Closed the Meeting with the Serenity Prayer