Find a Mediator or Facilitator
A neutral third party, such as a mediator or facilitator, can often be helpful in preventing and resolving conflict. Neutral third parties play a variety of roles, including facilitating discussions, providing parties with a "reality check" on the merits and value of their claims, assisting with creative problem solving, and writing agreements that reflect the needs of the parties. EPA's Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center (CPRC) assists EPA headquarters, Regional, and field staff in evaluating the need for a neutral third party and identifying a source.
External third parties are individuals and organizations outside EPA that assist in dispute resolution and conflict prevention. The sponsoring EPA office typically pays the fees for external neutral third parties in whole or in part. Depending on the circumstances, other parties or offices also contribute. The CPRC can help EPA staff in determining which type of procurement mechanism is most appropriate for external neutral third parties.
A list of potential EPA-specific sources for neutral third parties is provided below for informational purposes. To make the fullest possible use of these and other sources, EPA staff are encouraged to contact the CPRC, whose staff members are knowledgeable about selecting and ulitizing neutral third party services. The CPRC staff can help by identifying a variety of options and make a selection that is tailored to individual or organizational needs. Individuals and offices that are considering the use of a neutral third party should contact the CPRC (firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.564.2922), who is available to assist you or refer you to another CPRC staff member for consultation.
EPA-Specific Sources of Neutral Third Parties
All EPA headquarters, Regional, and field offices can use this contract to obtain expert services in conflict or issues assessment, public participation or stakeholder involvement activities, consensus building and collaborative processes, and alternative dispute resolution processes. For more information on the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Services Contract, click here.
- Non-Competitive Procurement of Neutral Third Parties
The Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 and the Federal Aquisition Regulations allow EPA to use other than full competitive procedures to procure the services of an expert or neutral third party for use in alternative dispute resolutions processes. This option can be less burdensome and time-comsuming when parties are interested in the acquiring the services of a specific neutral third party, but is only available for small purchases.
The National Roster of Environmental Dispute Resolution and Consensus Building Professionals is a source of information for identifying neutral third parties and matching them to appropriate disputes. The John S. McCain III, National Center for Environmental Conflict Resolution Exitand EPA jointly designed and initiated the Roster. The Roster is continuously open and contains information on more than 250 individuals who have met the qualifications with regard to experience in managing environmental disputes. CPRC staff and Regional ADR contacts can access and search the Roster's database for appropriate neutral third parties. For more information on the Roster, click here Exit
Other Federal Sources of Neutral Third Parties
This information being linked to by the U.S. EPA website is provided as a service to visitors to the EPA website. The U.S. EPA is not associated with or responsible for the content of these sites.
A growing number of federal agencies are sources of neutral third parties for a various kinds of conflicts. Examples of such agencies are listed below for informational purposes.
The Sharing Neutrals Program (SN) provides low-cost, high quality mediatiors to federal agencies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. SN operates through a pool of trained and experienced neutral third parties, from a variety of federal agencies, who provide medition services to one another on a collateral duty basis. The program is administered primarily by the Federal Mediation and Concilitation Services. For more information on SN, click here Exit
The Community Relations Service (CRS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, is a specialized Federal conciliation service available to State and local officials to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict, violence and civil disorders. CRS conciliators assist in identifying the sources of violence and conflict and utilizing specialized crisis management and violence reduction techniques which work best for each community. For more information, click here Exit
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) was created by Congress in 1947 as an independent agency to promote sound and stable labor-management relations. For more information, click here. Exit