Supreme Court Offering Program to Resolve Government Disputes

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Ohio government officials are being urged to participate in a statewide survey to create a new dispute resolution program. A formal process to mediate disputes among public officials will be finalized based on the survey results from all levels of government in Ohio.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s Dispute Resolution Section distributed surveys last week to state, county, and local public officials.

In January 2012, the Supreme Court assumed the conflict resolution services for government officials previously offered by the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, which was abolished by the General Assembly on June 30, 2011.

In a letter to survey recipients, the Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution outlined the goals of the program.

“The Supreme Court of Ohio Dispute Resolution Section offers Government Conflict Resolution Services (“GCRS”) to provide flexible, practical, and confidential assistance to resolve and prevent conflict among public officials involving budget, public records requests, and other organizational issues without court involvement.”

“Conflict resolution processes, such as mediation and facilitation, are powerful tools that can be used to clarify communications, build stronger working relationships, and reach consensus,” the letter continues. “Public officials have found that involving an impartial third party is an effective way to reach agreements and prevent disputes from escalating into unproductive, contentious impasses.”

Jacqueline Hagerott, manager of the Dispute Resolution Section, said the costs of the conflict services will be covered by the Supreme Court. She also stressed the importance of receiving feedback to design the program to best meet the needs of the government officials.

She said the survey will provide the necessary feedback to the Supreme Court commission as it redevelops the process and training programs previously offered by the former statewide commission. The Commission on Dispute Resolution will use this data to make a recommendation to the Supreme Court and its staff as to how best to deliver services and training programs.

Hagerott said government officials with questions or those who need mediation or facilitation should contact her at