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May 2002 Meeting Summary



  • Panel presentation by Elena Gonzalez, Director, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution and John Mahoney, Senior Analyst, Office of Planning and Performance Management
  • Conceptual agreement reached on the following points:
    • Use of internal vs. external neutrals
    • Simplified administrative procedures
    • Types of disputes covered
    • Types of ADR processes offered
    • Multiple entry points
    • Voluntary vs. mandatory participation


From May 20-22, 2002, the Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution convened the third meeting of the Department's Workplace ADR Design Team for the purpose of creating a department wide workplace dispute resolution system. Under the direction of Carolyn Burrell, coordinator of the 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 Mike Trujillo via a formal charter to develop an integrated and unified workplace dispute resolution system that every employee will have access to. The system will combine elements of pre-existing programs (CORE, EEO Plus) for the purposes of eliminating confusion, reducing administrative duplication, and maximizing resources.

On the first day the team heard from Elena Gonzalez, Director, Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution, and John Mahoney, Senior Analyst, Office of Planning and Performance Management. They also reached agreement on a policy that would utilize both internal and external neutrals and provide for some modicum of choice by the parties. Discussions during the second and third days focused on reaching agreement on a simplified system for case administration and payment of neutrals across bureau lines. The group agreed that all employee concerns, except for those otherwise covered under law, would be considered for acceptance into the program; That a multitude of ADR processes and techniques would be offered; that the system would provide for multiple entry/access points, and that it would be participation would be compulsory by management.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 22-24, 2002. In the meantime, numerous work groups were created the work done by the full committee. These groups will operate under the guidance of Carolyn Burrell and Pete Swanson, facilitator. The July meeting will focus on fleshing out proposals of the working groups, defining and developing products, and developing a detailed outline for the final report.

The team is estimating the time frame for completion to be six to nine months and will provide a report to the Director of the 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.