2013 ADR AWARDS - Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

 

2013 ADR AWARDS

Confidentiality in ADR

ADR Awards

 

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Alternative Dispute Resolution Award

 

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Excellence Awards Program was established in April 2007.  The Program emphasizes the importance of effectively managing conflict and resolving disputes, thereby saving time and resources.  Below are the ADR award winners that were recognized on March, 2015.

 

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution Excellence Awardees

A

 

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald and Ms. Tatishka Musgrove 

Category A: Individual Effort by an Employee

Ms. Tatishka Musgrove, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President (Local 548)/Medical Records Technician, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (HCS), Bay Pines, Florida

Ms. Tatishka Musgrove has worked to resolve workplace disputes, equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaints, and negotiated grievances throughout Bay Pines VA HCS, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 8, and with AFGE locals nationwide.  She continually distinguishes herself with a significant, ongoing commitment to dispute resolution as evidenced by her activities below. 

In conjunction with the her advocacy for ADR, she renegotiated the Local Supplemental Agreement (LSA) at her facility to include the use of ADR prior to filing a grievance and prior to invoking arbitration to save time and money.  Ms. Musgrove is well-known within AFGE and at her facility as someone who brings much energy, enthusiasm, and innovation to the ADR program.

Ms. Musgrove has also worked in partnership with other VA officials in senior labor management positions at VA Central Office and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities in resolving disputes between Labor and Management.  Ms. Musgrove has a reputation for fairness which also makes her a much sought after collateral-duty mediator in VISN 8.

 

Mr. Walter J. Brewer

Category B: Individual Effort by a Manager

Mr. Walter J. Brewer, Chief, Nutrition & Environmental Service, Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center (VAMC), Saginaw, Michigan

In fiscal year (FY) 2013, Mr. Walter J. Brewer undertook the consolidation of two services, the Nutrition and Food Service and the Environmental Management Service (EMS).  A logistically complex endeavor, the related changes generated significant workplace conflict.  Mr. Brewer demonstrated excellent leadership and commitment to ADR during this transition.  He participated in numerous informal ADR meetings and four formal sessions, resolving all without incurring additional cost to the medical center.  Mr. Brewer continuously demonstrated that managing conflict at the lowest level was one of his highest priorities during the consolidation.

Mr. Brewer has earned certification at the Fellow Mentor level and has encouraged others to use ADR, involving his entire team in dispute resolution. 

Annual Employee Survey scores for Mr. Brewer’s realigned area of responsibility have improved significantly for the period, further demonstrating his commitment to increased employee satisfaction.

 

Mr. Anselm A. Beach, The Honorable Robert A. McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dexter L. Coburn, Ms. Felice Newsome, and Ms. Adriana Hamilton

Category C: Workplace ADR Program Recognition

Washington DC VAMC, ADR Program, Washington, DC

At the beginning of FY13, the DC VAMC was charged with the development of a comprehensive strategy to resolve EEO complaints and workplace disputes at the lowest possible level while building cohesion and high morale within each work group.  Acknowledging that EEO complaints had increased over the prior five years and that EEO and ADR balanced scorecard metrics were not being met, the ADR team developed an initiative with very specific goals:

• Achieve the highest rating in all elements on the National ADR Scorecard;
• Enhance the outcome of scheduled mediations by conducting pre-mediation conferences to educate parties and help them focus on resolution;
• Increase the numbers of trained mediators to create a climate supporting early resolution at every level within the DC VAMC; and
• Review each EEO complaint or workplace dispute reported to the EEO office and schedule a mediation or intervention within 30 days. 

At the end of FY13, the data not only reflected notable improvement as a result of the ADR initiative, but also confirmed that the DC VAMC had exceeded the targets for every element of the National ADR Scorecard.

 

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Ms. Janice Cills-Cole 

Category D: Certified Neutral Recognition

Ms. Janice Cills-Cole, EEO Specialist, VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS), Baltimore, Maryland

A VA Certified Neutral since 2012, Ms. Janice Cills-Cole is a champion for ADR.  She has performed superbly as a Certified Neutral and has positively impacted the VAMHCS ADR Program, serving as a Neutral in 63 cases and resolving 90 Percent.  Ms. Cills-Cole utilizes a variety of conflict management techniques to open lines of communication between employees and managers so that they can better understand the root-cause of the dispute and bring closure to the issues that led to the complaint.  Since her certification, Ms. Cills-Cole has applied these skills diligently to improve employment relationships and working conditions at the VAMHCS.

 

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Stephen T. Redmon, Ph.D.

Category E: An Office of
General Counsel Employee Recognition

Stephen T. Redmon, Ph.D., Office of General Counsel (OGC), Washington, DC

Dr. Stephen T. Redmon has proactively and effectively demonstrated the value and importance of ADR through his innovative approach to preventing and resolving workplace disputes.  Dr. Redmon’s unique background, experience, and education work synergistically to strengthen his ADR skills, abilities, and effectiveness.

During FY13, Dr. Redmon collaborated regularly with ORM to facilitate the resolution of complex ADR settlement agreement issues.  His assistance relating to the development, review, and approval of ADR settlement agreements had a positive Department-wide impact by facilitating communication among mediators, ORM officials, OGC attorneys, and responsible management officials to effectuate legally sufficient settlement agreements.

Dr. Redmon personally resolved approximately 50 employee disputes and Veteran complaints utilizing his ADR skills and other leadership tools to prevent and manage conflict.  He fuses ethical leadership with his dispute resolution skills to further the Agency’s mission and goals.  VA OGC has personally tasked Dr. Redmon to facilitate and resolve complex employee conflicts, and he has always crafted a win-win resolution. 

He resolved one EEO case in FY13 at an estimated savings of $17,000 and countless hours of staff productivity.  He was asked to mediate a workplace dispute between two senior executives which was resolved with a written settlement agreement; again saving many hours of productivity at the highest levels.

 

Mr. Fernando Rivera accepting an award

Category F:
A Senior Executive Service Official Recognition

Mr. Fernando O. Rivera, Network Director, VISN 5, Linthicum, Maryland

Mr. Fernando O. Rivera provided strong leadership and support to medical
center ADR programs within VISN 5.  Two medical centers and one employee within his area of responsibility were recognized for their exemplary work in
promoting ADR in FY13.  At the beginning of FY13, the DC VAMC and the Maryland HCS acknowledged that their ADR programs had languished, falling short of the National ADR goals.  Under Mr. Rivera’s leadership, each VAMC established and implemented an action plan that not only resulted in improvement and the medical centers’ meeting the national targets, but exceeding them.  In each nomination, Mr. Rivera was cited as a key supporter in the ADR programs’ growth and success.

 

Mr. Jerry Diggs, Ms, The Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald, Ms. Sheila Jones and Ms. Janice Cills-Cole

Category G:
An ADR Committee/Council/ Forum Recognition

VA Maryland HCS (VAMHCS)

At the end of FY 12, the VAMHCS had a resolution rate of 35 percent, far below VA’s 50 percent target for resolution of informal EEO complaints.  Acknowledging this lag, this team of VAMHCS employees created an action plan to address the deficiency.

• Pre-mediation conferences were held with all parties;
• A mediation-blitz was coordinated in which aggrieved parties with pending informal complaints were offered mediation with a neutral who had a high resolution rate; and
• The National ADR Scorecard was reviewed and briefed on a regular basis to spotlight improved resolution rates in relation to executive performance standards.
• At the end of FY13, the data not only reflected notable improvement in the areas of deficiency, but also confirmed that the VAMHCS had exceeded the targets for every element of the National ADR Scorecard.

Coordination and cooperation among this nominated team, the VAMHCS Pentad, the EEO/ADR program staff, human resources, managers, supervisors, and labor partners attributed greatly to the achievement of this distinctive accomplishment.

 

Additional 2013 ADR Awards Photos