In a 2011 letter, former General Service Board Chair, Ward Ewing, sums up the relationship, “In some places, a reciprocal relationship exists between Intergroups/Central Offices and the Area structure. In these cases, an Intergroup may have a liaison to the Area and the Area may have a liaison to the Intergroup – in some instances the liaisons will have both a voice and a vote on Office or Area matters and sometimes only a voice. Any expansion of [Intergroup/Central Office] participation in the Conference structure, beyond the aforementioned, would have to go through the General Service Conference process.” As a note: In the Pacific Region, about half of the Areas give Intergroup Liaisons a vote in Area Assemblies.
Thus, at the General Service Conference and Board of Trustees levels, two key components of the structure, Central Offices and Intergroups are not represented. There is a sentiment by many that there is a need for more communication and greater considerations of the impacts GSO decisions and policies have on Intergroups and Central Offices. For example, the use of Intergroup/Central Office Meeting Guide information to feed find a meeting results on aa.org (website managed by GSO) and the decision to start selling literature direct to consumers on aa.org. It is generally felt by Intergroups that many Central Offices have closed for financial reasons since the AA.org online sales distribution model changed, and many attribute the closures to a loss of literature sales.
Although Intergroups and Central Offices do not have a direct role in the General Service Structure, there are relationships between GSO and Intergroups that are important, in some cases, vital, to supporting the fellowship.
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