As plans for the LifeRing Annual Meeting continue to fall into place, several items promise to arouse discussion at the Sunday LifeRing Congress. Four seats on the board of directors will be decided by a vote of the delegates present. Each LifeRing meeting is entitled to send one delegate. Three of the seats are from terms that have come to an end after three years. Those seats are held by Craig W., Carola Z. and Dru B. All three have decided to put their names forward again. In addition to those seats, Lauretta M. has decided to step down and her seat will be filled at the Congress, with whomever is elected serving the rest of her term, which has one more year to run. The new person in that seat will run again next year (assuming they choose to do so) for a full 3-year term. Lauretta has given years of service to LifeRing and will be missed, but time constraints have limited her ability to contribute in the way she feels is appropriate, so she is retiring.
Any LifeRing member with at least two years of continuous sobriety is eligible to serve on the board. We will be asking the newly elected board members to sign “letters of commitment” outlining expectations for board members regarding minimal contributions of time and energy.
In addition to contests for board seats, there will be discussion and votes taken on at least one and possibly more amendments to the Bylaws. The board has discussed and, generally, supported one amendment, to make it possible for LifeRing to pay a salary to an Executive Director. This has been discussed at each of the last two Annual Meetings, but not adopted. The minds of several board members have changed, though, with the passage of time and the increasing realization of the need for greater professionalism in our organization. Nobody wants to become too “corporate,” but it has become fairly clear that a group of amateurs, no matter how determined and well-meaning, can only proceed so far in creating an efficient and growing organization. There is currently not enough money available to actually hire someone, but supporters feel that the option should exist if the financial situation improves. The discussion of this amendment promises to be lively.
Several other possible amendments will be discussed, although they may not be ready for actual up-or-down votes. Members have suggested that not only the Executive Director should be paid (if possible), but that other officers and board members should not be excluded from being compensated for time and money given to the organization. Again, the idea is to professionalize the organization by reaching out to people with particular skills and getting them involved at high levels.
Other ideas suggested for adoption are an expansion of the board from its current size (9 people) to 12 or even more. And it has been proposed that we allow persons not in recovery to serve on the board.
It has recently been suggested that we make the matters now voted on at the LifeRing Congress by elected delegates who come to the meeting, be voted on instead by delegates from each meeting who do or do not attend the Congress. This idea has garnered support, but has complexities that may require study.
All these issues will be discussed at the LifeRing Congress on Sunday, May 13.