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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

 

2015 ADR AWARDS

 

 The Secretary of Vetrans Affairs
Alternative Dispute Resolution Awards

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 Monday, April 18, 2016.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Excellence Awardees

 

The Honorable Leigh A. Bradley, Mrs. and Mr. Peter Sevilla

Category: Individual Effort by a Manager

Mr. Peter Sevilla, Operations Office of Information and Technology, Enterprise Application Support, Hines Operations, Hines, IL

Peter Sevilla effectively manages conflict by communicating the changes that will occur in the workplace. By ensuring supervisors are well informed and employees are kept up to date, he has eliminated a substantial portion of confusion and conflict. Since becoming Chief five years ago, Mr. Sevilla has been working with employees, the union and supervisors to change the way work gets done in the division. His focus has been to bring the division into the 21st century through reengineering job roles, increasing automation, recruiting highly qualified personnel (many of whom are Veterans) and promoting personnel from within by establishing career ladders positions. Mr. Sevilla contributed to the fair, efficient and effective resolution of four disputes that were resolved without moving to formal EEO complaints. This equates to approximately $120,000 in cost savings to the Agency. His mantra is to address conflict and concerns before they turn into issues.

 

The Honorable Leigh A. Bradley, Michael Berger and Michael's Parents

Category: Individual Effort by An Office of General Counsel Employee

Michael Berger, Staff Attorney, Office of Regional Counsel, Brooklyn, New York

Mr. Michael Berger is an experienced litigator and an excellent and effective negotiator.  He has the rare ability of being able to settle difficult cases and have both parties feel as if they have come out of the process as winners. Mr. Berger is able to analyze the issues and determine the interests of each party.  Using this knowledge, he creatively seeks solutions to the problems instead of focusing on the ultimate goal. Not only has he saved the Agency the cost of litigation, but allowed the Agency to retain an employee who is happy, effective and a productive member of the workforce. He has volunteered to take on the most complicated and difficult cases. He has settled cases in which an employee has filed numerous EEO complaints against the Agency, and he has convinced his clients about the value of ADR and how it is a win-win solution for all sides.

 

The Honorable Leigh A. Bradley, George M. Cabaniss Jr., Eldred Jackson, Audrey Oatis-Newsome, and Elias Hernandez

Category: An ADR Committee/Council/Forum

Eldred Jackson, Associate Director, Procurement Operations; Audrey Oatis-Newsome, Director, EEO/Affirmative Employment Office; Ricky Rowe, EEO Manager, EEO/Affirmative Employment Office Veterans Health Administration, Washington, DC

These individuals came together to address conflict and work environment issues in the Network Contracting Offices 3, 5, and 8. The Network Contracting Offices consist of virtual employees housed at various VA medical centers but belong to VA Central Office. During the past years numerous EEO complaints were filed as a result of workplace conflict, poor communications and organizational change.   These EEO complaints were the manifestation of a dissolving work environment low productivity and increased turnover.  Realizing the environment needed to be addressed these individuals collaborated on implementing teambuilding sessions to address the immediate concerns. These team members participated as neutral observers in group facilitations and addressed hindrances to a cohesive team and opened dialogue affording staff opportunities to brainstorm on ideas which led to improved buy-in to change.

 

Rodney O. Brown 

Category: Individual Effort by an Employee

Rodney O. Brown, the Supervisory EEO Manager, VHA, Northern Indiana Health Care System

Mr. Rodney Brown volunteered to participate in ten EEO and Non-EEO ADR sessions.  His skills as a certified neutral contributed to four of the ten sessions resulting in written settlement agreements and a cost savings to the Agency of $240,000. Mr. Brown was specifically requested by the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 11 Lead EEO Program Manager to conduct mediation sessions which involved upper management and group communication amongst the groups. Mr. Brown has taken innovative steps to increase the visibility and effectiveness of the ADR program.  He conducts training continuously for employees and pre-mediation sessions with responsible management officials and their direct supervisors. Mr. Brown’s individual efforts have resulted in employees and supervisors being able to utilize ADR as a proactive approach to resolving workplace disputes at the earliest possible stage.

 

Steven C. Goldman

Category: Individual Effort by a Certified Neutral

Steven C. Goldman – ADR Specialist, Office of Resolution Management, St. Petersburg, FL.

Steven Goldman, ADR Specialist, Office of Resolution Management, St. Petersburg, Florida.  Mr. Goldman has made a consistent impact towards working together with internal and external customers to promote collaborative approaches towards managing conflicts, preventing disputes from arising, being a consummate steward of time and resources and to strive to resolve EEO and work-related issues.  During the past year, Mr. Goldman has demonstrated true determination and tenacity for getting the job done as evidenced by combined EEO and Workplace ADR resolution rate of 76%.  This exceeds the 50% Agency goal and was directly responsible for the resolution of 57 of 75 EEO and workplace mediations.  These results directly attributed to over $1,359,000 in savings to the Agency.  As a futuristic thinker, he always seeks out opportunities to promote the ADR mission at any possible venue.  Mr. Goldman strives to be supportive of fellow neutrals and accommodates schedule changes to support ADR efforts and is often sought out by team members for guidance.  As a futuristic thinker, he always seeks out opportunities to promote the ADR mission at any possible venue.

 

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Category: Individual Effort by a Senior Executive Service Employee

Thomas “Tony” J. Fitzgerald III, Deputy Health Care System Director, Palo Alto, California

Thomas Fitzgerald oversees one of the most complex facilities in the VA system.  He has an annual budget in excess of $891 million.  He has more than 6,200 staff and volunteers.  He has 808 operating beds disseminated between three divisions and myriad of special programs.  Mr. Fitzgerald assumed the supervisory responsibilities of the Palo Alto ADR program in 2007.  At that time, the program consisted of a collateral duty program coordinator and ten collateral duty neutrals.  He immediately set forth to identify all stakeholders and fostered an environment of collaboration with a focus on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the ADR program.  Tony closely and effectively monitored the development of the ADR program and workplace conflict prevention; he underwrote the inclusion of Conflict Coaching for the Palo Alto Health Care System’s ADR Service model.  His extraordinary dedication to the ADR Program has fostered a long standing enduring model which is worthy of recognition.

 

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Category: Individual Effort by a Workplace ADR Program

ADR Program, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California

The Palo Alto ADR program receives the necessary support from upper management to improve the infrastructure of the overall ADR program.  In 2014, the program received a full-time Program Support Assistant to support a full-time ADR Program Manager.  This program has more timely service delivery and a downward trend from the date of initial contact to closure of informal EEO Cases.  In FY 13, the average processing time for informal EEO cases were 69 days as compared to FY 14 which were 50 days.   Additionally, in FY 14, the ADR program had a 100% offer rate, a 61% participation rate and an 80% resolution rate of all workplace disputes through ADR.  Further evidence of the program’s success is a cost avoidance of $1,440,000.00 in FY-14.  Two thousand, one hundred seventy-nine (2, 179) employees completed a 45-minute face-to-face ADR Awareness training class.  This is in addition to the ADR training conducted monthly during the New Employee Orientation.  The Palo Alto ADR program serves as a model program by furthering the Department’s mission and goals by promoting and utilizing ADR.

Additional 2015 ADR Awards Photos