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July 2002 Meeting Summary



July 22 - 24, 2002
Ballston, Virginia


  • Conceptual agreement reached on the entire system
  • Standards group formed to look at KSA's, training and qualifications for neutrals and WADR Specialists
  • Transition/implementation strategy to be Departmentally focused with geographic partnerships approach, as opposed to Bureau centered approach, and retaining Bureau accountability

From July 22 - 24, 2002, the Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution convened the fourth meeting of the Department's Workplace ADR Design Team for the purpose of creating one department-wide workplace dispute resolution system. Under the direction of Carolyn Burrell, coordinator of the workplace ADR program, the team is responsible for designing a comprehensive system for addressing any concern a departmental employee may have with respect to the workplace. The team, made up from representatives of bureaus and functional areas (EEO, Human Resources, Solicitors Office, etc.), has been charged by Elena Gonzalez and Mike Trujillo - via a formal charter - to develop an integrated and unifed workplace dispute resolution system accessible to every employee. The system will combine elements of pre-existing programs (CORE, EEO-PLUS) for the purposes of eliminating confusion, reducing administrative redundancy, and maximizing shared use of existing resources.

During the meeting the team reached conceptual agreement on a department-wide system for addressing employee concerns. The proposed system (conceptual model) has been designed to ensure that all employees, regardless of bureau or location, will receive consistent information and high quality neutral assistance. The system is designed to address any issue a DOI employee has with respect to the workplace at the lowest possible level (i.e., employee to supervisor, supervisor to supervisor, supervisor to employee, employee to employee). Features of the system include multiple entry points for employees; compulsory management participation; appropriate dispute resolution options; customized tailoring of process to situation; and an implementation strategy that encourages geographic partnerships amongst bureaus and offices rather than a bureau-centered approach. The implementation strategy will emphasize the need for bureaus to be held accountable for ensuring the design is implemented in a timely fashion.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 7 - 9, 2002. In the meantime, team members are conducting briefings in their bureaus with all constituencies and their counterparts on the design and seeking feedback on the conceptual model and suggestions for a smooth transition. A new sub group has also been formed to recommend core competency standards and requisite training and experience for program personnel and third party service providers. These groups are assisted and guided by Carolyn Burrell. The October meeting will focus on incorporating bureau feedback into the final conceptual design and developing an implementation strategy, finalizing standards for neutrals and program personnel, and developing an outline for the team's final report on this collaborative design effort.

The design phase for the new system will be completed by the end of calendar year 2002. Concurrently, a report with recommendations will be submitted to the Director, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution, Elena Gonzalez. For any question on the team or its charge, please call Carolyn Burrell at (202)-219-0814.