Reasons for Changes in Intergroup Bylaws
Every three years, St. Paul Al-Anon/Alateen Intergroup is supposed to
review and possibly revise. This has has, in fact, not occurred since
2004. For the last several months, part of each monthly meeting has been
devoted to bringing the bylaws up-to-date. At the November 13 meeting,
approval by Intergroup Representative of the revised bylaws will be on the
agenda. We hope representatives from all greater St. Paul Al-Anon and
Alateen groups will be present to vote.
The 2004 bylaws and the proposed 2012 bylaws have been posted on line.
This page summarizes the reasons for the proposed changes. There are
links to the revised bylaws.
- Article I
- The word “Area” was dropped from the name of the
organization because “Area” has a different specific
meaning in Al-Anon.
- Article II, Section
- “twenty-four hour” was removed and
“internet” were added because the phones are not answered
24 hours per day and information is available on the internet.
- Article III Section
- The county names were added to make clearer the area Intergroup
- Article IV Section
1 and Article VI
- Previously the Bylaws included Appendices with guidelines and
responsibilities of officers and committee chairs. Bylaws are not a
good place for such information, since it is subject to change fairly
frequently. Hence having the information in the office make more
- Article V Section 2
- Previously the bylaws specified that notification should be
“through a newsletter or otherwise by mail.” In a world
where technology is changing communication, it makes sense to not
restrict how notification must be done.
- Article VI Section
- Previously the Office Committee was mentioned after Standing
Committees. The Office Committee’s most important
responsibilities were related to the hiring and supervision of paid
employees. Intergroup has had no paid employees for many, many years.
The office committee was described in Sections 4 and 5 which are being
removed. In addition, previous bylaws included an Article VII entitled
CENTER EMPLOYEES. This is being removed as no longer relevant. If
we ever again have a paid employee, the bylaws can again be amended to
deal with that situation.
- Article VII Section
- This is being changed from stating that all check signing officers
must be bonded to stating that all check signing offices
may be bonded.
- Bonding the officers is essentially insurance against the
possibility that they might steal funds over which they have signature
power. This is very common in corporations or other organizations that
receive and spend meaningful amounts of funds. There are good
arguments both in favor and against such bonding.
- Argument in favor of officers being bonded
The bulk of our funds come from group contributions to maintain our
services and support outreach activities. As such Intergroup has a
responsibility to take good care of funds and provide for
contingencies in which the funds might be lost or stolen. Insurance
against theft is one way of doing this.
- Argument against officers being bonded In
case of theft by an officer, in order to make a claim for recovery of
funds under the policy, a police report would have to be filed. This
might lead to prosecution of the officer. As part of that process,
people active in Intergroup might be subpoenaed and their anonymity
breached. It might involve Intergroup in a public controversy. This in
fact happened over 20 years ago and resulted in a very messy and
unpleasant situation. Thus there is no good way to take advantage of
any benefits from bonding without violating Al-Anon principles. Why
pay for what we can’t use?
- In discussion of this issue in Intergroup meetings, there was not
a clear consensus as to whether officers should be bonded or not. The
proposed wording leaves it up to those active in Intergroup in the
future to choose to bond or not to bond its officers.