What did you do at CRS (what was your role)?


Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

For example, I was there as a conflict management manager, but also the regional director was there to do what he was doing before. So now when you have a problem of conflict, that would come under my jurisdiction. That, of course, sent the regional director through the roof. From that point on, my group would respond solely to conflict problems. We did some training of staff, in terms of what it was that we had gained from our own training, but not enough. Even at our annual trek back to Washington, there was a division between the Conflict Resolution people and the rest of the agency. That really isn't good for cooperation. So then we got involved in kinds of situations that our own experience and expertise sort of propelled us to. In some cases that expertise propelled us to the agency.



Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

but at the time I joined CRS as a special, the Judge Pratt decision was a big issue. During that time, it was decided that, because of the unrest in the Southeast and in many other areas of the country, they needed to organize a crisis response team -- a team that would respond to crises as opposed to involving ourselves in five programmatic areas: education, housing, administration, justice, and economic development. So somehow or another, I was selected to become part of the crisis response team and we would respond to the crisis and then bring the mediators in to do the mediation work. We would set the tone, temperament, and the ground work, and bring the mediators in. They would then move toward a mediation agreement or some sort of conciliation agreement. But most of the time we could, in fact, resolve it through the conciliation. That did not require a signed agreement, as mediation often does. This is primarily the way we function.



Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

A fellow by the name of Victor Risso and I opened the New York office. At this time, CRS was just beginning to spread out, because Congress and the white House were becoming increasingly concerned about the series of riots that were taking place after the death of Dr. King. They recognized the fact that service could not be provided much beyond the fire-engine model working out of Washington D.C. The logic was that being closer to the action with field offices would provide better access, and therefore better service. So, Vic and I opened up the New York regional office, which was supposed to respond to disputes and conflicts everywhere within what’s now designated as Region 1, consisting of all of the New England region, Region 2, New York, New Jersey, and then also at that time Region 3, which included Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands – they just sort of threw those last ones in as well, you know. Well, of course, the agency actually expanded the regions later. We got more staff, and then it began to sort of actually go from what had been five large geographical divisions, to ten regional offices, in order to conform to the typical federal setup. So I started out as a conciliator in the New York office, working all over, just doing various kinds of what was called conciliation. In those days, mediation had not really taken hold in the community conflict arena. It was mainly called conciliation work. The truth of the matter is that it really was a useful distinction, because there really wasn’t much in the way of formal mediation, per se, taking place in the early days, since much of CRS was still in a reactive, crisis-response mode. We flew into all sorts of places, literally or metaphorically, laid hands on people, dealt with an immediate conflict situation and then flew out. The economy would not allow for much more than that. In its earliest configurations, CRS had 50 people. Then, as the regions began to grow, I went from being the Conciliation Specialist to the Deputy Regional Director, and then I became the Acting Regional Director. So I stayed at the New York office from ‘68 until ‘79. Then the fellow who was the deputy director of CRS at the time asked me if I would come to Washington to be the Associate Director for Field Coordination, and so I did. From ‘79 until 1986 when Gill Pompa died, I was Associate Director for Field Coordination. When Gill died, the Attorney General asked me to take on the position of the Acting Director of CRS, which is where I remained until September of 1988. When it became clear that I was not going to get the official appointment as the Director of CRS, I decided to segue. So I left CRS and joined, as kind of a government transfer, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) which is no longer in existence. ACUS was, as you know, a relatively small, arcane federal agency involved in administrative disputes. They tried to determine how to make administrative disputes less litigious and less costly. ACUS became interested in the Conflict Research field as a mechanism for doing this, and so I came over as Distinguished Visiting Fellow, to bring a perspective from the community into what was largely legal and administrative disputes. I found out that the transition could work. There were lots of things that I could apply. So here I was, coming from a community conflict-resolution agency, into an agency that was dominated primarily by lawyers looking at administrative disputes, and I had a great time. I learned how to do interesting legal research, trained administrative law judges and staff of federal agencies, and at the time was also involved in the very beginnings of the Regulatory Negotiation process. I also helped to write the first 1990 Omnibus Dispute Resolution Act. While this was happening, I was also doing these kinds of casual little moonlightings at this new program, then called the Center of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. It had just started at George Mason University, and the clinical part of it was just getting started by my old colleague and friend Jim Laue, who used to be at the Community Relations Service. So, it was a very incestuous network of people involved at this time. I found that I enjoyed teaching, and that I had something to offer. Students seemed to resonate with me as I did with them. In 1990, I was 50 years old, and serendipity being what it is, I took an opportunity to take an early retirement. At the same time, the then Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution offered me a position on the clinical faculty, and I made that transition. That’s where I’ve been ever since.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was hired to be Midwest Regional Director in Chicago. At the time, there were only four regions; this was the fourth.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Well I was the Regional Director for fourteen years.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What was your title?

Answer:
Conciliation specialist.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
I left in October of '95 and then had a contract during all of '96, with the church burning task force.






Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You started off in Washington?

Answer:
Yes. I was in Washington from 1968 to 1974. In the fall of 1974 I came up to Boston. All the problems were continuing with school desegregation and Ben Holman, the Director of CRS, said, "I want you to go up to Boston and take over. Those crazy Irishmen up there might listen to you." At that time I was one of the operation officers. I really didn't want to go because I saw my career in Washington at the national level. I told Ben, "No," but he said, "We need you up there." In hindsight it was good for the family life, but probably bad for the career.

Question:
Did you come in as the regional director?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
So you've been the regional for a long time.

Answer:
I have been twenty-seven years as regional director and more than 33 years in CRS.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Stephen, tell us what your position is at CRS.

Answer:
I'm a Senior Conciliation Specialist in the Los Angeles office. That's the title. I often call myself a federal mediator - most people understand "mediator," they at least hear it in the media, and with the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. At least the word "mediator" is out there, and I think it's a better term for entry for most of us. "Conciliator" is kind of a nebulous term to most people.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Well, I'll just give you the types of cases I've had and you might have a question about one of these. Native-American and governance disputes, police and Native-American shootings, police and African-American shootings, Asian-, Latin- and African-American shootings, corporate and repatriation, corporate and Asian customer protection, Asian and African business customer community dispute, school suspension/expulsion, racial slurs/jokes, police and school hiring promotions, ethnic studies threatened, affirmative action demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, hunger strikes, site-based management disputes between parents and school personnel, gang violence and police response, recruitment of minorities, discrimination in fire departments, Head Start closures and community, city governance and community, Latin community in FEMA, students after riots, shootings and retaliations. I think the principles used in each of these cases were the same. And the key is to thoroughly understand the mediation process.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I worked there for about a year and then I got promoted to the lofty position of Supervisor. So I had two or three people working for me: an attorney and two conciliation specialists. We were responsible for the entire region in terms of dealing with conflict resolution.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But about 1972 or 1973, the axe fell and we lost a great number of staff people. Nationwide, I think we initially had roughly four hundred staff people, and we were cut down a lot. When we got chopped up, of course they went by the amount of time each person had with that agency, so I lost my position and stepped down to Conciliator. They brought my group in with the rest of the region, which, more than likely, should have been done long before. From then on, I began to get involved mostly in correctional and law enforcement kinds of problems, not only within my region but also within other regions. I sometimes would get a call from Seattle to come in and provide some kind of technical assistance to them with some of the things that they were doing.



Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What were you hired as?

Answer:
As a conciliator, to deal with the desegregation of schools. Judge Pratt was a Federal District judge at that time and he ordered schools in various areas to desegregate. It was our mission to try to help in that transition.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
We'd like to go backwards now and fill in some gaps cover some material that we didn't cover yesterday. One thing I wanted to explore further is the Navajo case that you discussed briefly yesterday that wasn't a clear cut mediation process. Is that an example of what you do when mediation is not appropriate?

Answer:
This was a few months after the disengagement at Wounded Knee. One of the young men who had been there remembered something about the role of the Community Relations Service and obviously remembered me being there, so he called me again. As you may know, CRS had gone into Wounded Knee. We had gone through the federal lines and consulted with the Native Americans there. We did lots of different things as part of our effort to help bring about an overall resolution of that standoff-- which went on for many weeks. In the following early September, I received a call from Ft. Defiance in the Navajo Reservation saying there were some serious problems, and there had been a killing in one of the border communities just outside the reservation, allegedly that a young Navajo man killed of a deputy sheriff in the parking lot of a convenience store, and that the suspect was on the run. People on the Navajo reservation were in considerable fear about the kind of reaction the state police and others might bring to bear--it was a very tense scene. Also, the annual Navajo nation fair was coming up within a week or so and that there were some serious tensions surrounding that. There were some problems between members of AIM, the American Indian Movement, and the Navajo tribal leadership who ran the fair. The fair is the biggest single event, apparently, on the Navajo annual calendar. AIM, as well as other Navajo folks, were concerned about this other matter and the possibility of heavy police presence at the fair. Now, obviously CRS had no role with respect to the law enforcement scene, or investigation, or anything like that. Our only role would be if there were fears and tensions based on relations between the Navajo people and police. We were willing to see if there was anything we could do minimize those tensions and get at some of the sources. Anyhow I went on down to Window Rock, which is the Navajo capital, and 5 miles from Window Rock is Fort Defiance which is where some of the AIM folks were headquartered. It's a long story. There wasn't any major role to play, happily, with regard to the suspect who was picked up soon without violence. So while that was a very aggravated scene, it was resolved quickly and was not a problem that we needed particularly to address. However, we did have to address the conflict with AIM. AIM's main demand of the Navajo people in charge of the big fair, was that they wanted an AIM element to be included in the all important parade that kicked off the fair, and they wanted AIM to be included in the rest of the fair as well. Also, about a week or 10 days later, AIM was planning to hold a big powwow on a ranch within the Navajo reservation which was owned by the grandmother of one of the young AIM men. Hundreds of people from outside the reservation had been invited to this event. The main issue with respect to the powwow was the FBI. Remember, this was only 3-4 months after Wounded Knee, and AIM was very worried that the FBI would disrupt the powwow. Some folks might have felt that this was a real paranoia, but this is how they felt. We talked to the AIM leaders and offered to talk with the FBI. The Navajos have their own substantial police department too, so we got with the Navajo superintendent of police as well. He was a very cooperative guy, open to discussion. He didn't feel there was any substance to AIM's accusations, and everybody else denied it, but the AIM folks were very, very fearful about this. They insisted there had been some over flights and they thought they had seen people hiding in the trees of a nearby mesa, so they thought they were being spied on. They thought somebody was going to come down on their powwow either when it took place or before it took place. I noticed out back of the Navajo police headquarters a couple of helicopters and I got an idea. I called the superintendent and asked what would he think if a couple of the AIM leaders and maybe himself and I took an unannounced flight to check out the area. The superintendent of police and the AIM guys agreed, so one late afternoon, the superintendent and my colleague from CRS and I and at least two of the AIM guys piled into one of these helicopters with a BIA pilot and took off. It didn't seem to me we took off very rapidly, but we got up and circled around the mesa top. The trees were so widely spaced that had there been anybody or any cars or pickups, or any group of people, they would have been clearly visible. But no one was there. Mission accomplished, I thought. But just as we finished circling the mesa top, the engine conked out on this helicopter. That's a whole other story, let's just say that happily, the BIA pilot was fabulous, and he saved our lives. The copter's rotors were clipped off by some trees during our descent, but we all got out without even a serious bruise.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
And what is your capacity at CRS? What's your job title?

Answer:
The title they're using now is Senior Conciliation Specialist-- but it's changed over the years.

Question:
But you've had the same job functions basically?

Answer:
Well in '72 I was an Administration of Justice Specialist, that's when we were very programmatic. When I came back, I came back as a conciliator and then we would call it something else and then something else and now we're conciliation specialists.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
In listening to the tapes yesterday there are a couple of things that I would like to clarify. Number one, would you tell us the jobs you had at CRS? When you started, what were you doing, and did you change jobs later within the agency?

Answer:
About the only thing that actually changed from the time that I left CRS to where we were at the very beginning were the projects that we would take on. But prior to that it was approximately the same. I started off as conciliator, and then later on they changed all conciliators to conciliator-mediators. But we did a lot of conciliation work all the time. In conciliation you don't actually get into a mediation case where the parties sit across the table and you're mediating the case.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you come on as a conciliator? The agency had not done mediation by that point, is that right?

Answer:
Uh, no.

Question:
So what sort of title did they hire you as?

Answer:
They hired me as a field representative. And later changed from field representative to state supervisor and then regional director, but we were first field reps. I worked in New Orleans and Shreveport from June or July 1966 until January 1968 and after the sanitation workers protest in Memphis in January, I was transferred from New Orleans to Memphis.

Question:
So you've seen the agency and the nation in lots of different circumstances.

Answer:
Well I have. I've been a field rep, I've been a state supervisor, and I've been regional director, so I did it all.

Question:
And you've been regional director for how long?

Answer:
Since 1972. I haven't had a promotion since then, isn't that a shame? (laughter) Promoted to where? I had the opportunity to be director when Jimmy Carter was President. I didn't choose to go to Washington. It was my own choice. But, I didn't choose Washington. I like to stay where the action is and the action's definitely here, most especially in this region.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
As Regional Director, my typical work was in supervision and management. But I did have the opportunity to take cases from time to time. Either I would choose one, or occasionally, I would be assigned to one.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

When I got involved with the California Department of Corrections, he was the first fellow I went to. This happened roughly about 1973, right after I got demoted into another position at CRS because mine was done away with.



Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What attracted you CRS?

Answer:
The way that I came to know about CRS, was the University of Maryland where I did my Undergraduate program. They were having trouble figuring out where they were going to place students. One of the places that I ran across was CRS and when they had talked to me about trying to work, I was originally going to become an Administration of Justice Specialist which sounded very interesting and so that was it.







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