From time to time, councils and staff reach out to IECA with questions about mediation services to help resolve issues between staff, volunteers, council members, partners, etc. This information was compiled April 2021 for reference only. If you have specific questions or need for a mediator, reach out to IECA Executive Director for further assistance.
There are three main types of scenarios in which mediation is used as a resolution:
- Formal legal issue: Used if they’re already involved in a lawsuit; sit down and a 3rd party (often retired judge or lawyer) as a formal step in litigation; often results in settlement in mediation
- Pre-litigation – might be lawyers involved; some contracts require mediation before someone sues
- Personality conflict mediation – no lawsuit or lawyers, HR professionals; harder to find a neutral 3rd party; less formal; checklists are available to mediate personalities
Neither the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) nor Whitfield & Eddy can provide mediation services.
If litigation is involved (such as the first and third scenario listed above), consult your legal counsel for options and advice. Extension councils are able to utilize the services of Whitfield & Eddy to navigate legal issues you may be encountering.
For a personality conflict, you may seek out assistance from clergy or religious counselors, mental health professionals, job or life coaches, or other individuals that can be objective and are acceptable to both parties. There may or may not be a fee associated with their services. It is encouraged that whoever contacts them to say upfront that it is a non-legal mediation (so they know there’s no court case pending), and ask for a rate directly. Some mediators do things for a minimum flat fee, others do an hourly rate. A lawyer might be inclined to quote their hourly rate, which may or may not be worth it to the county. Since this isn’t legal advice, the normal malpractice risk – which influences fees – isn’t there. That means the rate could be lower. Keep in mind some may also be willing to mediate via Zoom as well so don’t let geography limit your search.