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Fourteen Months in a FEMA Field Office: A Special Kind of Community Mediation.

Baron, Linda
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Justice Connections: a joint publication of NAFCM, PRASI and VOMA. 4(Spring): 3, 4, 8.

Mediating in FEMA was nothing like the court, community, and agency-based programs that I was familiar with. There were no intake forms, no dedicated mediation rooms, no established
protocols or procedures, and no one knew much about mediation and conflict resolution. In most mediation programs, mediation is an alternative to something – an alternative to litigation, prosecution, investigation, or some other kind of more formal process. In FEMA, when workplace disputes become intolerable, someone is usually “released” (i.e., sent home).
That person may eventually be deployed to another disaster, and might even find himself working next to the same person he had a conflict with in the last disaster. One of our tasks, as in any workplace mediation program, was to facilitate more satisfactory resolution of conflicts both for the present situation, and for t he future. (excerpt)


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