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  • Ed Johnson

A little bit of rubbish mediation

With the limited access to courts and lawyers mediation is even more so now than ever the best choice to find a resolution for your dispute. Get your dispute resolved now while you can’t go anywhere you can really concentrate on what’s important and what deserves your time and energy.


Northwest Mediation continues to use Zoom, Skype and FaceTime as well as the phone and emails to resolve disputes so please do not feel that you cannot contact us as there are limits on physical meetings.



Short but sweet article confirming that a dispute between Camanche Council (Iowa) employees has been settled by mediation, the council voted unanimously to approve the memorandum of understanding (settlement agreement) Mayor Pro Tem Paul Varner was authorised to sign off on the agreement. I would have gone for a handshake image but, that seems a little 2019 now.


It is always preferable for the person with signatory authority to attend any mediation meeting, otherwise you can reach an agreement and then the person attending “has to check” before a hard found solution is agreed and signed off. In this case it would have been hopefully made clear that any agreement would need to be ratified but Northwest Mediation has had cases where someone too junior to settle has attended a mediation.


Thankfully thinking outside the box is what we do and we work with parties to get the person with authority in the room, on the line or to give authority during the mediation process. It can cause difficulties as one party may feel the other is not taking the process seriously if a “junior” has been sent down just to talk without proper authority and it then takes time away from the productive talks while authority is obtained.


The case of a Boynton Beach, Florida, firefighter’s face being wrongly depicted is going to mediation.


The depiction should be of the city’s first black female firefighter, Latosha Clemens, who has sued the city both for defamation and negligence, in failing to ensure her true likeness is depicted.


Latosha approved a picture for use in the art work but when the mural was unveiled, the image used portrayed her as white the allegations in part reads "Being depicted as White was not only a false presentation of Clemons, it was also a depiction which completely disrespected all that the first female Black firefighter for the city had accomplished"


The parties are due to attend mediation by 30/11/21 failing which the claimant has requested a trial by jury. I’ve purposefully not copied any link to the image itself.


In Boardman (Ohio) the local school district has claimed it is impractical to lay on buses for up to 95 students (including some with special needs) partly due to a shortage of drivers (that’s a different shortage to the one we’re facing in the UK which is mostly down to Brexit).


The schools affected are ACLD School and Learning Centre (Youngstown), Cardinal Mooney High School, Heartland Christian School (Columbiana), Montessori School of the Mahoning Valley (Youngstown), Summit Academy (Youngstown and Warren), Ursuline High School and the Youngstown Community School.


All parents were sent a letter justifying the cut on six grounds and offering mediation if parents were unhappy with the decision (which parent’s groups have argued has been incorrectly determined).


Some have already been offered $500 in compensation but parents feel that where the actual cost to them would be in excess of $100 per week a one off payment goes no way to assuage their difficulties in getting their children into education.


Back closer to home now for more mediation news.


The ongoing strike at the recycling centre in Brighton and Hove has led to Labour councillors calling on their Green counterparts to appoint an independent mediator saying:-


“In autumn 2019, under the last Labour administration, an independent mediator in the form of a senior industrial relations expert was brought in to help negotiations and resolve a difficult situation which meant avoiding strike action at Cityclean.


“That same expert has indicated he may be available currently, so Labour are calling upon on the Green administration to get in touch with him as a matter of urgency and ask for his assistance to resolve the current dispute.


“Labour are clear that when industrial disputes reach an impasse it can be really beneficial to bring in some independent and objective advice and expertise.


“With the bin strike having been ongoing for almost a week now, and rubbish and recycling piling up on the streets of Brighton and Hove with residents suffering, Labour are keen to find a solution to end the dispute.”


The co-leader of the opposition Jon Allcock added “We are keen to help bring an end to this bin dispute that is having such a detrimental effect on our residents and our city’s reputation.


“The previous Labour administration succeeded in avoiding strike action by keeping lines of communication open, negotiating and when necessary bringing in an independent mediator to help resolve disputes.


“This is what we are calling on the Green administration to do now. Bring in an independent expert who has the trust and respect of both parties to help end the strike in the interests of residents.”


Well we’re available, presumably we’d have to attend by zoom but if they want to throw in travel we’re happy to pop down.


The three pillars of mediation remain it’s voluntary, it’s confidential, the mediator is independent, by using those pillars to support your work the parties keep control, save costs, save time and energy and reduce stress.


In person or via electronic media as we’ve said before choose to mediate early and resolve your issues effectively, timeously, and with less stress and costs than going to your solicitor so you can get out choose a different path, not quite the road less travelled but perhaps the path less adversarial. You have an interest in the outcome the sooner you get round the mediation table the quicker you can move forward and avoid the grilling a cross examination in court would put you through.


By having a deep and meaningful discussions with parties the mediator elicits what the true “red-lines” are and where there is the potential for compromise, it is with this structured period of reflection that the parties are then able to reach an accord.


The flexible nature of mediation and the possible outcomes make it an ideal way to resolve disputes in an ever-changing world and the open nature of discussions in mediation whilst remaining confidential allows all sides to engage fully in the process and understand the needs of all involved allowing parties to reach a conclusion which both sides can live with and move on.


There are so many situations which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public will go to avoid referral.


Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Liverpool, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Cheshire, a neighbourhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.


Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes, civil mediation or inheritance, wills and probate arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at ed.johnson@northwestmediation.co.uk


neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance wills probate mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation


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