archive-org.com » ORG » C » CIVILRIGHTSMEDIATION.ORG

Total: 258

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you ever intentionally act as an advocate for one side? Did you ever do this unintentionally?
    He was a great tactician so Baird Rustin came down and took charge of organizing the next march When Baird walked the route of the march he said Oh no we can t march that way Number one They had a court order to deal with because the city went into court and tried to get an injunction against him in another march They didn t get the injunction but they got a bunch of restrictions on the march One is they could only use one half of the street another one was that the march had to take place between ten and two another one was the route of the march When Baird had walked the route he was that much of a tactician Most folk would mark from here to here he would walk it and see what the hindrances and encumbering things would be and he said Going that way we have to pass two buildings in demolition and one building in construction We don t want young people to be tempted to pick up rocks and bricks to throw We don t even want to go that way we want to go another way But the court order was to go that way And then the other was a problem too Do you know how long it would take to process ten thousand people marching four or five abreast We couldn t even go downtown and get back within the four hour span of the court order So the court order needed to be changed So then they turned to me as the mediator and Baird said Mr Sutton somebody s got to go before the judge and tell him what the encumbering things are as they relate to a peaceful march Under usual circumstances an attorney would go down and make that appeal but that takes too long The attorney would have to make a brief and the judge would have to study the brief and then come up with an answer He said That would take three or four days and we don t have that Would you go down and just talk to the judge man to man about this situation I agreed to do it so the next morning when the Justice Department agencies got together as we did everyday CRS CRD Civil Rights Division U S Attorney and F B I all got together the next morning I reported this to them So the guy from the Civil Rights Division jumped up and said You can t do that I said What do you mean I can t do that He said The Justice Department can t be in the position of asking a judge to change his order I said With the exception of the F B I the rest of you are attorneys and I can understand your great fear of the judge But a mediator does not have that kind of fear at least this one does not and I shall go He said I m the highest ranking member of the Department of Justice here and I direct you not to go I said You re getting things mixed up He said What s that You are the highest ranking person from the Civil Rights Division I m the highest ranking person from the Community Relations Service and I promise you that the Community Relations Service would not tell the Civil Rights Division what to do and the Civil Rights Division will not tell the Community Relations Service what to do There are only two people telling me what to do and that s Roger Wilkins Director of the agency and the Attorney General himself He said I shall call the attorney general I said Call whoever you want to call I left the meeting to go to meet with the judge but on the way to meet with the judge I called Roger I said Roger and he said Hey Ozell how s it going I said I say to you and I m always doing this you remember the scripture about how the lady said I will go and see the king and if I perish I perish I told Roger what I was about to do I told him I was greatly upset at the Civil Rights Division that he would probably hear about that but that the only thing I need to know is whether that disturbs you or not Roger Roger said Ozell if you think that s what ought to be done then you do that That s the way Roger was You are a seasoned mediator one of the best we have so you go ahead and see the judge I went to see the judge and the judge received me very politely and I explained to him I said Judge marching four or five abreast it would take more than five hours to process ten thousand people Had you considered that He said The city does not want them to take the whole street I said Judge you know what that is When the American Legion comes here it takes the whole street When the Shriners come here they take the whole street And they don t even get a permit They just go out there and start marching I used to be a commander of a protest group and when we came into town we just went out there and start marching We took the whole street and nobody said a word to us This is selective law enforcement which we cannot do in this situation The city would not drive for three hours and they re going to need the whole street to do that even for the city s sake they need the whole street The judge agreed Then I told him about the difficulty that they didn t want to march down that street unlike it was in the other march Even the signs are

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1890.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - Are there other aspects of the process that you used that are worth noting?
    by rank order and you kind of line the issues up juxtaposed to each other by rank Then you really take to heart the opinions of those people that you felt were neutral and very objective about the disputed issues to try to see if you can bleed some truth and logic into the sequence and the viewpoints of the parties positions So that s the way I approach it It s very intuitive but at the same time I m relying on as many of the neutral perspectives that I can get because I think that objectivity lends some credence to some of the very biased views of people involved in the conflict That s the best I can do in those kinds of cold situations Sometimes you need time to bleed out the truth by getting to more levels in depth levels Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top How do you identify them neutrals Answer Well in any of these groups that we work with there s a range of personalities on any side You have the adamant positions they re wrong I m right I m going to get my piece Then you have the hangers on who don t see it at the same level of compassion and anger and they tend to be more objective I look for these people because they are very important in preparing for the mediation process In our mediations we usually have 5 to 7 people on either side If you diagram the personalities that sit at the table I kind of hone in on who I can depend on in really being my aides and will assist me who are the ones that are basically just position bargainers and which are the ones that I can count on really giving me a more objective insight So working with the personalities and the positions of the parties themselves is important in knowing who to go to who to ask questions who to diagnose the problems and issues with and who might give you a possible solution etc Even within the parties you can find diverse views and position to help the mediation process Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top I analyze them against the other parties priority issues and then when I write the issues down I try to manipulate them so we work from the easiest to the hardest At that point I share the issue with each of the parties one at a time and gain their concurrence The parties are also given a chance to add or delete issues I generally do that all the time because I want them invested in the process before we get to the real hard ones I ve had situations where I ve put hard ones on the front end and we couldn t get through them and there wasn t enough good will established to get through that issue Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top I do a lot of writing on easels to point out what points we ve made up to now and does everybody understand that Ask a lot of questions Are there any differences in opinion Is there anything more that needs to be said about this or are we ready to go to resolution So that works A lot of it comes naturally through dialogue and the discussion by the parties You know it happened and that they fully understand by their counters or by their stated thoughts I didn t see it that way this is what happened to me or I didn t know you thought that way A lot of times you hear it in the dialogue itself and you don t need to do anymore So it s a combination of all those things Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top I think one great thing that mediation has when you re selling it is you don t have to give up anything There is very little risk You can maintain your lawsuits You can maintain your EEO complaint You have all these options and you have the right to use them but we re going to give you another option that you can control and there is very little risk If you don t like it you can walk away Point out other options available to the parties while still involved in the mediation What will happen if nothing is done That s always a good way to pose it One thing we use against institutions all the time is If you don t come to the table what is going to happen What is the complainant going to do next You re forcing the ante to go up when you re not willing to respond and at least make yourself available to discuss these issues So when they get frustrated where do they go next They either start marching or they go to the media and it just escalates So why wouldn t you go to the table and at least hear them out Give examples of similar resolutions and after you ve mediated long enough you can say I ve had a similar case to this and these are the kinds of things that people came up with That takes the fear factor out You aren t selling the ship or anything you re just saying we could all move along and people have already come to the conclusion that we ve moved the ship in different ways and different times This isn t the first time this issue came up Let s go through and look at the history and share some of the more valuable things that have occurred in mediation cases that I ve been involved in So I think that s helped The mediator and his or her impartiality should not become an issue Martin Walsh Full Interview Topic Top The venting process takes place and I think that no matter what the person says it s going to be an angry type of confrontation that can leave people very upset about what the university didn t do about that incident about that person being beaten up and nobody doing anything and letting this guy come back on campus and nobody ever paying attention to the students and other incidents That was the whole process and I think it s important for those things to take place But they were able to go from there as they had planned to the next step We ve seen so many of these things If they aren t prepared to go to the next step then where do they go That anger just percolates out there It may recede over time as people do things but it s there beneath the surface If anything else that takes place another triggering incident that relationship is bad and then something else builds up and Boom Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top But at the table we had a big language problem The Koreans has such strong accents I couldn t understand them The African Americans couldn t understand them We had one African American who worked in the swap meet who was our translator It was just amazing The candor of the discussions and the open realizations that African Americans went through and that Koreans went through and their thankfulness that they shared their real feelings as people about why Koreans followed African Americans around in stores why the Koreans look angry and then now to smile and other nuances that they didn t understand What one culture felt was a better alternative to a real demeaning and discourteousness act was found to be a taboo or idiotic thing to do in another culture I had an easel and I wrote the agreements that they came up with I wrote them out because we knew language was a real barrier so we wrote out everything that they concurred on Then I went and asked the Korean community if they understood each issue and proposed resolution and would ask Are there any questions I went through tediously pointing out exactly what the exchange was what the agreement was piece by piece Bob Hughes Full Interview Topic Top So you never go into caucus and say You better drop that one because it s never going to be solved Answer Oh well I might go into caucus and give some advice Or say this particular issue that you ve raised is going to be pretty difficult to get an agreement on and I would make some recommendation Question I m wondering if you would advise parties saying I just don t think the other side would accept that Answer Oh well I might say that Meeting with parties in private caucus can be risky because presumably they need to be consulting among themselves and really digging down and exposing their best thinking to each other And for the mediator to be there and then leave and go over to the other caucus at least the thought passes through the minds of most people What s he going to tell them that he s just heard To what extent How s he going to help them Or maybe he won t That is I think a fairly risky area Question So I gather you don t caucus much Answer Not much And it may be to test something out I may go in and say What do you think about doing this I might go back and ask the same question to the other caucus and get their response and get back together and ask if they would be willing to try this based on what they ve told me Question What would make you decide that it s time to do that Answer I don t know Some perception of an idea that arose in the need for some fresh ideas Question But something that you couldn t bring up in joint session Answer Well I mean if they were already in session I reflect on it In other words why would I withhold it until they were in private caucuses I don t know I guess you d say trying to test the waters Question How did you decide when to meet separately with the parties and then when to bring them together Presumably at the beginning you are meeting separately with each party How do you decide that it s time to bring them together Answer Well when I ve met separately with them that s primarily for the assessment purposes from relation of ideas we d mentioned And once the recommendations have been made then that reflects the idea that we should move into mediation In the Portland case that I mentioned earlier we had been in continuing contact with the parties throughout that period of tension and we didn t make the recommendation for mediation until what might be a fairly late hour We felt that mediation would be effective and that the parties would now likely be agreeable to mediation And check it out individually with them and if they said yes then we formally arrange it Julian Klugman Full Interview Topic Top Answer Yes I m not going to let anybody yell at anybody I m not going to let anybody get out of line I m not going to let anybody intimidate anyone else I m there to help them solve their problems Question What if they develop an agreement which you consider to be unfair Answer Tough Question Tough to you or tough to them Answer Tough to me They re not there to do what I want them to do I m there to help them I work for them They don t work for me But there are times when mediation is going to fall apart and there are times when you don t mediate That s what I was talking about regarding ethics Nobody talks about that anymore Sometimes mediation doesn t make sense Sometimes it shouldn t be done Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top I was doing a court mediation case against a federal agency I m part of that agency Department of Justice It was over an action INS took in a community in apprehending day laborers and that town s police force helped INS in conducting this action The plaintiffs felt there were a lot of civil rights violations such as the fourteenth amendment first amendment seizures laws and all that stuff They filed a suit in court against the Attorney General against the Department of Justice against that city and against the city s police department So the plaintiffs asked me if I would mediate it after it had gone to federal court They all got together and even though I work with the Department of Justice they were asking me to mediate I had worked with a lot of the plaintiffs before They felt I would be fair and impartial It s the same idea with being Hispanic dealing with issues involving Hispanics I ll never stop being who I am but I will try to be as fair and as impartial as I can To be able to help them When I m in town they say Well are you going to talk to the sheriff I say Of course Are you going to help him I say Of course I ve got to help the sheriff deal with you and then help you deal with the sheriff If I can t do that then I don t have any business here In this court case once we got the judge s okay for mediation we had a second meeting where some new lawyers came from Washington The plaintiffs were asking for class designation and for thousands of dollars to pay for their attorneys The government said No there s not going to be a class designation and we re not going to give you money They were asking right off the bat for about 600 000 Then said I asked the government If you give them 100 000 is that reasonable No 50 000 No 25 000 No 5 No Five pennies No Nothing zero no pennies nothing So the plaintiff s attorney was there and he said Okay you re not going to give us class you re not going to give us a penny then we re out of here So they just walked out I called for a recess and a caucus I talked to both sides about how important this was The government wasn t going to give up any money but what would be reasonable What would their supervisor and the taxpayers feel was comfortable But it became a personal matter to them about giving up anything So now they re playing hardball Then I talked to the plaintiffs and their party privately about their ultimate goal Is their ultimate goal getting class and getting money or is their ultimate goal reaching settlement on correcting the problem they say happened What are you here for Are you here to make money are you here to declare that this is a class action or are you here to get what you can get for the people you represent I also said Okay if it s critical to you think about how much money you want Also why don t we put that at the back end of the discussions So it becomes issue number twenty instead of issue number one That way you all feel you ve accomplished a lot if you ve accomplished eighteen of the things on your list Of all the things you really wanted corrective action on the police department was very important corrective action by the government If you get that then maybe money won t mean as much Now you ve gotten pretty much all that you wanted And that s how we did it It involves helping them realize what their true self interest is I just helped them through the process of analyzing their interests The plaintiffs didn t get half a million dollars That s what they felt they had spent in legal fees As for the class they were just defined as one But everybody got a whole lot of what they came there for They went to the judge and the judge gave the okay a few months later Dick Salem Full Interview Topic Top The last negotiation I took part in took place on a school bus which was in the DMZ It was a convenient place the people fit and it was pitch black I was in the back of the bus and they decided what they needed to do was find a way to end It was agreed they were going to end and what terms would be There would be no arrests but those who had felony charges pending were subject to arrest CRS would be the intermediary for turning in guns Guns wold be registered and returned to their owners if the could show they owned them That was our role at that point Now there may have been more of a role played in other meetings I left at that point Nancy Ferrell Full Interview Topic Top Question This was the same group that you had constituted Answer Part of that group became the first task force Then they had in place the criteria for replacing themselves over time Because the students would have to rotate But they put in the document ways for the group to replace itself as time passed We did the brochure out of the group We had it designed and printed up out of that process Question And what is the task force s purpose Answer There was one overwhelming interest that came up That was the minority students lack of anonymity when they needed it when

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1900.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you do any organizational assessment or evaluations?
    no concern who saw all of this protest as unfounded when they started to go through that report they were astounded at the level of disrespect blacks had experienced Just the whole body of action that occurred against blacks or the lack of consideration they got even when they filed a complaint We had cases where people testified that they filed a complaint of police brutality and that s when things really started Every time I pulled out of my driveway they d say I was stopped for something and then I was verbally abused even if I was not physically abused We just ran into all kinds of things Question And so the recommendations of the report were implemented Answer It moved things further along But as long as there are races and attitudes you have problems You can come up with so many ways to curtail those attitudes but the attitudes don t change Christ has been trying to get us to love one another for two thousand years but we still don t When the police officer every time there is a striking knows there will be a full report and full investigation of that I m just talking about black citizens anytime police find it necessary to strike a person a citizen then there ought to be a unit that does not want to be doing that Quite often you cannot expect police to police themselves Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top I was able to get the four police agencies together and I brought the demands paper the community had put forth and they looked at that We helped them analyze number one number two number three The head of one of the agencies said I ll take the rap for closing the festival I didn t do it but for the sake of resolving this I ll say I did it We found also that the police association had insurance that covered all liabilities and damages so they wouldn t pay anything Now as for the apology wanted from the state police they said No they re not going to apologize for something they didn t do it was a riot and it met the state criteria for a riot So they took actions based on the criteria for a riot and stopped it I then met with the community group and they came back with their response but I brought them together again and I went to the police agencies and got their response Finally I brought both sides together and I shared the paper with the attorneys and the lawyer for the community and the community leaders They had a female lawyer who was a veteran of civil rights wars back in the 70 s It was very quiet as she was reading and she finally says Bullshit and throws the paper She just threw it at them I again said that this wasn t written in concrete there was still room for discussion and nobody saw it as written in concrete That is the purpose of coming together why don t we talk about number one and we discussed number one and we came to an agreement and so on The part of the apology worked out real nice because at the end of the sentence where it said no apology was necessary because they did not violate anybody s rights We added the word however and added that if some people thought their rights were violated then an apology is extended So it could be read both ways Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top Question Where did these sixteen points come from were they just bullets that you put down Answer Yeah What they said they were going to do They came out of the agreement We got there a different kind of way but everybody was satisfied Question And you had no idea you were writing an agreement when you were taking notes Answer No just notes I always take notes Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top Every time we enter a situation we change the equation let s say What we try to do is have it change positively But if it seems like it s a negative change they need to let me know because I don t want to be doing that I have too much work already I don t need to be there if I don t have to If you think I can do some good and you think we can work together and I can help you work to get there well then I ll continue But if you don t think so let me know because there are other communities out that have been begging me forever to come over there and help them out Manuel Salinas Full Interview Topic Top Ultimately they finally agreed that the department needed to better understand how to handle a riotous conditions They felt that there was excessive force and the police tried to justify why they did it Those were the problems that were surfacing and the friction was going on So ultimately we decided that we did do a partial assessment We did it it was just a matter of talking to the chief some of the command officers the community and within that we made an assessment of what the problem was in a little more accurate rather than emotional way The outcome was finally that they felt that the university could carry on a training program for the police department So the community contacted a Hispanic professor at the university and he put a program together on human relations and they then presented that to the police department And the police department after review accepted that In the meantime we brought in also some consultants to assist in the training So the university and I think there were two people from our department that assisted too We provided ongoing training for

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1910.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - What role does listening play in your work?
    Just talk to me What are your concerns Within about an hour I realized there were people there who were concerned about the school district the police department there were four different interest groups and I just divided them up in the room Everyone that s most interested concerns in the school district go in that corner Everyone that s more interested in police here city government here contracting here And just divided them up and it turned out to be a five prong community conflict resolution kind of thing So we were dealing with just about every major system in that city But I didn t know that when I got there Nancy Ferrell Full Interview Topic Top In terms of mediation you would need an absolute commitment to the belief that people really can be empowered to solve their own problems My best skill is to facilitate that Being a good listener is important You don t know the tune if you don t listen If you don t listen to them both emotionally and verbally then you don t know what dance to start with If you can t empathize with people with integrity I don t think you can be a good mediator Again it doesn t mean that I agree with what your saying but with genuineness I can say that I understand That s where the trust comes from when people can hear me and trust that I really do understand That in itself diffuses the potential for violence more than anything Just the fact that they ve been heard and understood By anybody Question Even by somebody who can t do something Answer Yeah It s an incredible gift to people to be able to truly understand what they re feeling I understand what you re saying I understand you re hurt I understand where you re coming from How can they trust me to communicate in parties if they can t see in me some empathy for their position Silke Hansen Full Interview Topic Top So I have found that just spending time listening and understanding what some of their problems are goes a long way towards developing some credibility with the institutional representative Eventually they begin to think You know maybe this woman really can help me So then they are willing to give it that chance I am thinking of one case that involved a small rural community I spent a long time there talking with and mostly listening to the sheriff I think that he was really surprised that a government official wasn t there to clobber him He was really surprised that I understood him I said You know one of the things that I have learned in this work is that law enforcement personnel in some of these small rural communities face challenges that New York and Los Angeles and Denver never even think about It s hard doing law enforcement here He was astounded that I understood that Hey here is somebody who understands what I m up against One of their biggest frustrations is that they are not New York or Denver or Los Angeles so what works in the big cities might not work for them but most people don t understand that I don t need to agree with him or what he is doing but if I just have a sympathetic ear and recognize that I need to understand his perspective as well as the minority community s perspective then that s a big step in the right direction The importance of really listening is sometimes underrated Maybe I mentioned this before but in one really major conflict I was involved in I really wasn t sure how much of a difference I had made in the overall scheme of things But one of the things I was told near the end of that case was Silke you at least listened Generally people don t do that I have heard that many times since Even in cases where there really wasn t a whole lot I could do and it was hard to say where mediation might be useful if a community actually felt listened to and not just ignored swept aside or totally disregarded that has made a huge difference That is part of what I try to get across to each of the parties If in fact it might go toward mediation or some similar method of resolving some of those local tensions I ask both sides to just listen to what the other is saying I am not asking you to agree or cave in but just hear what they are saying and what their concerns are You might even have some solution for them that they didn t even think of But first just listen It s amazing how important that is to people in conflict Part of what intensifies the conflict and violence potential in many cases is that people think that they are not being heard The reason they are shouting is because they think if they shout someone will finally hear them Of course it doesn t work that way But I think part of the reason for the volume is that they haven t felt listened to so they think Maybe if I get louder they will actually hear me Silke Hansen Full Interview Topic Top Question What about building trust between the parties how do you go about doing that Answer I think a number of different ways If I can actually get them to the mediation table and get them to where they are actually listening to each other then it is actually embarrassing how easy it is to reach an agreement among the parties That s because in most cases they have never really done that before They have talked at each other and yelled at each other and they ve said things about each other to the media and so

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1920.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - How much direction did you give the parties in mediation?
    look at the same thing In a lot of cases we will initially do the writing because we of course know the language We will do the writing on those issues and then in a very timely manner we ll ask one of them Why don t you continue this while I take a break Eventually they can take ownership People in dispute come together with a lot of emotions and while they have all of the skills talents and intelligence to participate they can only provide a certain amount of time to a community dispute It s not their bread and butter Their reputations might be at stake or they can even say their children s futures are at stake They can only give a certain amount of time and effort and so their involvement lasts only the time that the meeting lasts They don t go home and get on a computer and start working on it The school system on the other hand the school superintendent assigns someone to work on the case The committee doesn t have that and so keeping them together keeping them focused and being realistic as to how long they can keep together becomes our task We do that It s actually their task but we focus a lot as to how to keep together and who s going to do what and when It s not that the leadership doesn t have the ability and capability but they don t have the resources for long term projects Any disputes that we re working with to us is a very short term project We re looking at resolving it within two or three days We re looking at resolving it with one meeting and they never look at it that way It s also important to note that a lot of the disputes that we handle are in smaller communities say a community of three thousand We get there and we re introduced and we give our spiel and then they get up and start telling us of all the ills of that community for the last ten to twenty years Then we ll say Well could we ask the leaders to assign someone to work with us tomorrow One person will meet with us and we have fulfilled their goal which was for someone in authority to listen to their complaints because no one has done it before We happen to be from the US Department of Justice We happen to have someone who knows how to listen and that s it We ll come back later and ask the city Well whatever happened to that case There were forty people there and you had a list of fifteen items I can t get a hold of anybody nobody will answer my calls We have fulfilled our mission and we have provided a service to that community That s all that s going to happen They ll never admit to it but that s all they wanted someone to listen to them Bob Ensley Full Interview Topic Top But you ve got to realize that this is their problem and the only lasting resolution will be one that the people who live in the community agree to We can say this is what the Department of Justice has decided to do but it s only going to hold for so long as we re there But if they come to an agreement on their own and begin to realize this is their problem then you can feel a little more comfortable with leaving and saying I ll be back You do go back and follow up and see if they ve made any progress you look at your checklist Then sometimes you ll say to them You know your effort and everything you re doing is fine but wouldn t it be a good idea if you would call the state Human Relations Commission to come in to give you some assistance in this Or Wouldn t so and so in the governor s office come in to help you Think about it Bob Ensley Full Interview Topic Top Question How do you decide when to stop dealing with them separately and bring them both to the table Answer It varies Sometimes you have to do it in the heat of the conflict and have them realize that unless an agreement is reached today there s going to be serious consequence and everybody s going to suffer Then again it takes time to build and you gotta spend days going back and forth from one group to the other It s usually hot you re tired but you say I can t give up now I have to go I have to keep on going Then when you start seeing little cracks and people saying Well let me call so and so Call me in a day I d say I don t have a day or two Can t you call them now Bob Hughes Full Interview Topic Top Question So I gather that if one side like the Native Americans accuses the other side of doing something you hold off before the landowner makes a rebuttal statement Answer The other party is not expected to give any answer to what s being said by the other party Question Did you ever have a problem where people wanted to rebut Did you have to control that Answer I m sure I did I can t remember specifically Question How would you handle that Answer Essentially after making some kind of a statement saying Okay you will have an opportunity to answer this a little bit later Just hold off The important thing is to get this out and then we want you to give your side of this Question Did you ever find yourself assisting one party to try to understand the other party s position Answer I think it s the role of the mediator to restate for purposes of clarification Sometimes it s needed to clarify and even Is this what you re saying Question Did that seem to help or were there times when the party who was speaking said No that s not what we mean Answer Oh I m sure that happened Heck I m a non Indian and have no background I didn t even know what they were talking about when I first got the complaint in this You know what the title to the case is that I wrote on the file Beach standing Indian s complaint Later on that didn t mean a thing What s a beach standing Indian But they were talking about Indians who were standing on the waterfront fishing So I had to learn what a meander line was and that sort of thing They had to explain it to me before I could really go anywhere with it Ernest Jones Full Interview Topic Top Question What were some of those issues just generally Answer I ll just take it from the beginning the recruitment process which people are recruited The allegation was that there was no way to attract minorities or recruit minorities Assignments the argument was that assignments were made based on who you knew as opposed to your skill level and whites had almost all the good positions even though blacks needed these positions Promotions there were no blacks above the rank of sergeant blacks were not given the opportunity to go to outside training So we got with all the parties they agreed to it I then drafted out the ground rules that were going to guide the mediation and gave those to everybody I got a tentative agreement from all of the parties and then we set the date for the first get together It was that first meeting that would be introductory everybody was going to introduce themselves to everybody else go over your ground rules and get everybody to sign them as well as make any changes that are necessary present the issues and put them on the table What we ended up doing was putting them up on paper on the wall We met at the city hall and everybody said that was fine One of the things that was interesting was that all these people had been together on another occasion in the past because these were the same groups of people who negotiated You could leave the contract in the department and everybody knew everybody else They knew each other real well Actually Fred and I were the outcasts The first meeting when everybody was together we went over the ground rules everybody signed off on them we went over the issues and then we decided that we needed to set up a schedule When we were going to meet and what the process was going to be like I explained what the process should look like They said fine we ll go with that So we instituted a process about how the whole thing is going to flow and we set up a schedule Basically the schedule was that we would begin meeting the following week we d start meeting in the afternoon or late afternoon We would go until 9 o clock or 8 o clock something like that But we could go longer if there was a consensus or if we were on a roll and the mediators said we need to keep going I m consistent about this The mediator is the final word on the logistics on the ground rules you know anything that has to do with the process Question So they don t have any input into the process Answer They can have input and input was solicited but the final decision is made by the mediator that s just the process So when a mediator says you re done talking you re done talking When the mediator says they re taking a break okay I think the first time we sat down we went 9 days straight This thing dragged on for 8 months now we had 27 issues My recollection is that we came together I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday it was 2 or 3 o clock in the afternoon It was the first session I don t think we ended until 2 o clock in the morning We came back together the next morning at 8 o clock and we went like this for 7 or 8 days of straight constant hammering at this There were a dozen people around the table and sometimes we went up to 16 to 18 people and we just kept going on and on Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top I never tell anybody what to do because it could be the worst thing they could do But I do help them analyze their situation and then they decide what to do Then we discuss option A B or C Which one has the most positives which has the most negatives Then they decide which option they take There s consequences for A B and C Good or bad but there s consequences for doing nothing too Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top That sounded like you were doing the choosing and now you just said you don t do choosing Answer That s through the assessment phase because I have to learn who I need to be talking to and learn who and what we need to deal with Question Okay Once you do the assessment then you decide who gets to be the representatives Answer No the parties decide who their representatives and leaders are I ask them who are the players and they ll tell me we need to have this person we need to have that person Question But you need to have one person out of all the key players who s convening the meeting or do you convene the meeting Answer I need to be in charge of the process the participants provide the input At the beginning I convene the meeting or we do a co convening It depends on what s going to work If it s bad that I associate myself with somebody that has a lot of negatives already then I don t associate myself with that person too much although that person is critical So I try to find the safest person at the table or the one that has the most positives and work with that person to do what we need to do But in this other community last year I chaired a committee of leadership only because there was no agreement on who else would do it Toward the latter part of the meeting I said This is the last time I m doing this You ll have to select somebody you all can agree with This is your town not my town This is your case your issue You should care enough about your town that you re going to work together under some leadership here I m taking the first stage out I won t be around forever I was going to say also out of these five or six people who are obvious leaders some may be in the background In this other town we had police problems It was a big town in Texas Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top Do you ever try to sell a particular idea or convince one side that they ought to do something or is that up to the parties to do Answer I never really try to sell anything Other than ask them to consider options would they be willing to sit down and create a working group But I didn t tell them they have to or that they should but would they consider it It s been my experience that those working groups have worked in a lot of other places so I would ask them if they would consider it and tell them it s worked well in town A and town B And maybe they either know about that or know how to reach parties in town A or town B or even I may give them names and they could call to see if something like that is working for that community which might be similar to theirs But they decide It s very dangerous if it gets to them doing what I say they should do I don t know them I don t know their community I don t know all their history I just know a little bit and I don t know the skeletons hiding in their closets In fact I ask people to give me a warning when what I m doing or what I m asking them to do is not appropriate I want them to tell me I m going to wind up somewhere I don t want to be I ask them up front that they please do that Also they can ask me to leave if they think what I m doing there is more harm to them than good Every time we enter a situation we change the equation let s say What we try to do is have it change positively But if it seems like it s a negative change they need to let me know because I don t want to be doing that I have too much work already I don t need to be there if I don t have to If you think I can do some good and you think we can work together and I can help you work to get there well then I ll continue But if you don t think so let me know because there are other communities out that have been begging me forever to come over there and help them out Werner Petterson Full Interview Topic Top Question Would you talk about how you designed a plan to handle this case What did you do at what point Did it work as you had planned Answer That s a good question Once I had the parties acceptance to enter into mediation in that case hearing from them in these separate meetings and then later jointly it was clear that we were kind of locked into boilerplate solutions which is not acceptable to either side Once I saw that then I began to talk with people about what some other solutions might be My approach to mediation is I feel some responsibility as a mediator to be part of finding solutions I think some would say no it s really the burden of the parties but I think at times a mediator has to come up with some ideas to help flush out possibilities In fact in this situation later on when we were close to finishing the case one of the attorneys before the plaintiffs said that one of the things that they were never sure of was when I would make suggestions were they coming from the community maybe they were coming from the other side As a mediator making a suggestion I don t mean to cloud or muddy the waters by one side wondering about whether or not what s being suggested is something the other side wants Will Reed Full Interview Topic Top You want to let them identify the spokespeople who they re comfortable with having at the table themselves You do not play a role in that You don t play a role in saying I m going to have Mary Smith at the table or Jack and Jill You let the spokesperson figure out how many people are going to be there They get out their pad and pencil and they start writing down the names Well Julie she s pretty good about this and she did write

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1930.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you ever try to pressure the parties to change their approach?
    s very dangerous if it gets to them doing what I say they should do I don t know them I don t know their community I don t know all their history I just know a little bit and I don t know the skeletons hiding in their closets In fact I ask people to give me a warning when what I m doing or what I m asking them to do is not appropriate I want them to tell me I m going to wind up somewhere I don t want to be I ask them up front that they please do that Also they can ask me to leave if they think what I m doing there is more harm to them than good Every time we enter a situation we change the equation let s say What we try to do is have it change positively But if it seems like it s a negative change they need to let me know because I don t want to be doing that I have too much work already I don t need to be there if I don t have to If you think I can do some good and you think we can work together and I can help you work to get there well then I ll continue But if you don t think so let me know because there are other communities out that have been begging me forever to come over there and help them out Nancy Ferrell Full Interview Topic Top I think one of my propensities was to keep moving beyond their real interest They would have to be really overt to me and say Go away As long as they just danced around it and kept the door open I just kept moving forward Generally that worked out although sometimes they slammed the door I think that s one of the skills of the mediator to understand whether or not it s mediatable If you can t help that party see beyond the entrenched position then it s not going to be mediated I use it in the 40 hour mediation class For example one of the barriers may be authority It s a big rock Here s the mediator they re the fulcrum underneath this lever As the mediator I m trying to get this party off of its entrenched position in order to see the benefits of the mediation If I can t come up with something to put on the other side then it won t level out and it s not going to work Answer So the mediator is looking for a leverage point to move people out of their entrenched position to get them to consider a negotiation In family situations children are often the point Sometimes it s money How many resources are you going to use supporting that intrenched position Are you willing to consider another option So you ve got to find

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1940.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - Can you explain the difference between conciliation and mediation?
    mediation Answer CRS defined mediation and had a series of activities There was conciliation there was pre mediation and there was mediation and follow up It was quite structured In formal mediation you have an agenda you have ground rules you have parties agreeing to all of this That was highly structured Much of what we did never reached that level Yet you had the same behaviors in bringing parties together and getting them talking around a table Now was Skokie a mediation Sure it was but not by this formal standard Parties wouldn t come around the table So you did Mediation things and the definitions become blurred but I don t want to get hung up on that There were formal mediation that I did and there were informal mediation or conciliations call them what you want Martin Walsh Full Interview Topic Top What s the difference between a conciliation approach and a mediation approach Answer I guess in our conversation here even though we are changing the languages within CRS to include mediation across the board when I try to differentiate between conciliation and mediation mediation is the formal or informal process of people dealing with one another across the table It s a negotiation and problem solving process involving the parties communicating with one another Most of the time directly sometimes indirectly Conciliation is everything else It can be the training that did not go through both parties it could be technical assistance that is provided in a situation Much of our prevention work is conciliation because we don t necessarily bring the parties together Question Are you saying it s anything happening before the parties began to sit down to talk Answer Well we try to differentiate the assessment process from conciliation or mediation even though they run together very often I distinguish the assessment as all activity that leads up to our making a decision as to what we are going to do That usually entails acceptance by at least one of the parties Everything after the assessment is the conciliation process or the face to face or problem solving process which we call mediation Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top Yeah Conciliation is a very nebulous term because it includes a whole variety of ways that you help resolve problems and although it s technical assistance I still think it s a way of helping the institution to resolve it s problems So I think under conciliation comes technical assistance training and all the other things versus mediation which I think is a very formal at the table discussions with the knowledge that our intentions are to come up with an agreement that will give us a long term relationship and a set of protocols to work through to insure that the issues are resolved Stephen Thom Full Interview Topic Top You had a question about mediation versus facilitation and I think mediation and facilitation are two different things I think mediation is the umbrella and that facilitation is underneath it When I teach mediation I really teach problem solving and then I teach problem solving and how you facilitate problem solving and then I teach what skills you need to help others problem solve That opens up communication listening and inquiry skills that are transitioned into the problem solving process It s a very easy frame that people can follow I say You re a facilitator and some mediators get mad at me and say No I m a mediator And I go Okay You can be a lot of different kinds of facilitators When you are a facilitator of a problem solving process for others you re a mediator If we go to a formal written agreement and I think that s how CRS distinguishes mediation from conciliation if we go to a formal table in an announced process with ground rules and a written agreement then we are into formal mediation At one point we had an agency with a selected few mediators and they were outstanding if they did three mediations a year Have you ever worked with Ed Howden former CRS Regional Director Boy he wrote a thesis when he wrote his agreements He was an excellent writer I have some of his models that I keep because they are just gems but bottom line the agreement solved a set of problems Question Where do you see negotiation fitting in with facilitation and problem solving Answer I think we are talking semantics because negotiation is the give and take that dances in between the problem solving process We know there is a process and when we teach mediation we say here is the process You go into entry you gain agreement to cooperate you go into discovery you analyze the issues and you go into resolution and alternatives and then you go into closure Those are the standard steps that we teach in mediation Juxtaposed to that whole process you identify the issues you analyze the issues you seek alternative solutions you select the best solution and you go to closure on that They say the same thing only there is a little different text but it s really a problem solving process So when you re facilitating this for people to understand mediation quickly it s easier to say How do you solve problems and you work through the process and say Does this make sense to you Now let s make you a mediator Flip it around and start dealing with someone else s problems So it s a real simple and quick process and doesn t get too convoluted I think we can make excellent mediators out of those who understand that and what s different about that Once we can get the simplicity out of the way we can go into the fine tuning of the techniques approaches and strategies Mediation emphasizes two critical differences 1 soliciting the solution to the issues from the

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1950.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Mediator Interview Topic - Tell us how conciliation works.
    control and information center so that information can be filtered and rumors can be investigated and properly handled People are told to call the police or whoever is doing the verification process There s a whole protocol of how to set it up and how to do it and to assure that there is a centralized type of information center that basically is there to end the rumors and to dispense proper information to the public and the media Question Who generally manages that Answer Our recommendation has been that they get a person from the city usually from the Mayor s communication center to be in charge of the center and the people who answer the calls can be a cross section of persons from the community A centralized number is issued so that persons hearing rumors or wanting reliable information are urged to call the rumor control and information center The team at the center checks out each rumor with the proper authorities and provides the accurate information both to those calling and to the public through the media Question How do the people know that this kind of thing is set up and created Answer Through the

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1970.shtml (2016-02-13)
    Open archived version from archive



  •