ADR Frequently Asked Questions
The Baltimore Federal Executive Board's (FEB's), Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Council has established a Mediation Services Program (MSP) that provides no cost mediation assistance to its member organizations. If you have a workplace dispute within your organization that lends itself to informal resolution through the mediation process, the Baltimore FEB can help.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Baltimore Federal Executive Board's Mediation Services Program?
In an effort to facilitate the use of mediation among federal agencies, the FEB's Mediation Services Program maintains a roster of qualified mediators who are available to mediate workplace disputes for Baltimore FEB member organizations.
Why share resources?
ADR is being promoted in many contexts as a cost-effective means of resolving disagreements and avoiding litigation. The Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (PL 101-552) encourages federal agencies to use mediation and other ADR techniques to avoid or resolve disputes. Shared services have the benefit of reducing costs and increasing objectivity by using mediators not employed by the organization in which the issue to be mediated has taken place.
How does the process work?
If a member organization has a workplace dispute for which it needs a mediator(s), the Mediation Services Program will provide the organization with a trained, experienced mediator(s) from another member organization. The Program typically uses a co-mediation model, whereby two mediators will sit down with the parties to assist them in negotiating their own resolution to a dispute. The goal of the mediators is to provide a safe environment for the parties to discuss their issues and underlying interests, to build their agenda of items to resolve, and to negotiate resolutions that satisfy their interests. The mediators are completely neutral third parties who have no stake in the outcome other than to assure that the resolution is acceptable to the parties involved in the dispute.
What cases are eligible for mediation?
Currently, the Mediation Services Program is only providing mediators for cases involving workplace disputes (EEO, union grievance, etc.). Requests for mediators in cases involving other issues; contracts, environmental, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
How do I join the program?
If you are a member of the Baltimore FEB, you can complete the Agency Request to Participate Form. After this form has been submitted to the Mediation Services Program and reviewed/approved by the ADR Council, you will be eligible to submit requests and receive mediator referrals.
Who are the mediators?
In order to mediate for the Mediation Services Program, an individual must be employed by a member organization and meet the following criteria: (1) at least 40 hours of basic mediation skills training; (2) at least three co-mediations with a qualified mediator; and (3) at least two references from two qualified mediators or trainer/evaluators. In addition, supervisory approval is required and the potential mediator must ascribe to the Program's Standards of Practice.
How can I mediate for the program?
If you are an employee of a member organization, you must complete the Mediator Application. The Program Coordinator will review the application, and if all of the qualifications have been met, your name will be added to the roster, and you will be referred to organizations requesting mediators.
What are the logistics of the program?
The process begins when the requesting organization asks for a mediator. The FEB's Mediation Services Program provides the name and telephone number of a mediator(s) and the requesting organization contacts him/her. The mediator generally contacts the parties to schedule the mediation session. This typically takes place within a matter of weeks of the initial request. Mediators frequently rely on the requesting organization to provide a neutral location for the session and any other logistical assistance that may be required. If the mediator or the requesting organization believes there to be a potential conflict of interest, the Program can provide additional referrals.
The Program will work with the requesting organization when tight deadlines for mediation services present themselves.
At the end of the mediation process, the requesting organization will complete a survey and return it to the Program Coordinator. All information provided is for research and evaluation purposes.
What about confidentiality?
Mediators participating in the FEB's Mediation Services Program agree to abide by the confidentiality provisions as outlined in the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (5 U.S.C. 571 and 574).
What costs are associated with participating in this program?
The Mediation Services Program provides mediator(s) at no cost to the requesting organization. The only cost that could be incurred by the requesting agency is for local travel expenses, e.g., mileage, parking, if requested by the mediator.
How does the process conclude?
If the parties reach agreement, the agreement is generally reduced to writing, signed by the parties, and submitted by the mediator to the requesting organization. If mediation ends without an agreement, the case is referred back to the requesting organization for the next steps in the organization's processes. At the close of the mediation, the mediator provides the parties with evaluation forms and asks the parties to return the forms to the Program Coordinator. For tracking purposes, the mediators also report whether agreement was reached.
If you have questions, please contact:
To request an ADR Mediator recommend contacting:
Alternative Dispute Resolution Director
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Resolution Management
Office: (202) 461-0235
BB: (202) 359-8960
Fax: (202) 501-2885 or (202) 461-4145