How important was it for you to gain the trust of the parties?


Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Speaking of trust, lets talk about how you gained trust in this case and how significant you think trust is in general.....

Answer:
It's extremely important in this business to be honest. Tell people only what you can do. Don't say what the Department of Justice is going to do, don't say what Mr. Hilliard's going to do. Say what you yourself are going to do. If you can't do it, then say, "No, I can't do this." If you say you're going to do it and some inhibitor gets in the way, tell them, "You know I made an attempt to do it, but I couldn't because..." Another thing: don't be seen consorting with the ladies. That's something that you cannot do in this business and maintain any credibility. In any type of business you cannot consort with women that you meet. You know, during the struggle, most people stay at hotels or motels and some of the things that I've seen over the years have destroyed a lot of people's credibility and reputation. Sometimes they will try you. A group in Mississippi sent two of the most beautiful women to my motel in Memphis. I mean, they were gorgeous ladies. I was in the dining room and I saw them. I had my dinner and I went back to my room, and about an hour later somebody knocked on my window and said, "Mister, do you have any battery cables?" I said, "Yes, but just give me a chance to put a shirt on." So I went out and they said, "Well, we know you're there by yourself and we just thought you needed some company. You know, we're here alone too......." so they'll set you up. Another thing: don't be pretentious and dress like they do. Never be pretentious and again, let them do the talking and you listen and you take notes. After it's all over you say, "Well, I sure thank you because without that information I don't know which direction I would be able to go. Never borrow any money from local officials, and never let people give you gifts or favors. I don't even accept a Coca Cola from the sheriff. Now when we go into a real crisis area, the riots in Georgia for instance, it's the obligation of the sheriff to pick up the tab for all the food that's being served. In the time of curfew you have to eat where they eat because otherwise you're not going to eat because the restaurants are closed. With that exception I don't go in wanting the sheriff, the chief of police, or anybody do anything for me. No you don't accept small favors. And tell people the truth. For example, sometimes I would say to them, "Well, I'd rather not go to the meeting because I know there's some people there that I wouldn't want to be seen with." Your support or association with certain people tends to give them elevated status, a little beyond where they need to be. These rascals don't need to promote themselves at your expense. So just tell them no, I can't go at this time. And if you tell them you're leaving town, leave town. If you tell them you're going to be staying, make sure you're staying there. Don't lie to people. These little things are where you gain trust.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk about trust, the significance of trust, not only in this case of Louisville, and the police officers, but in general as a mediator, how important is it for you to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Well, I think it's extremely important. Let's say I'm doing mediation and during the process, my sense is that I didn't gain the trust of one of the parties, or both of the parties, and the mediation is not successful, and maybe we go back to court or whatever else they were doing. In that particular situation, I would then not view that I had made my goal. I would not have accomplished the goal because that element, not having gained that trust which is part of the mediation process, is unsuccessful. So the mediation wasn't successful and I accept the blame for that. I also recognize that there are going to be individuals that are not going to trust me no matter what I do, simply because I'm a Fed or simply because I am white.

Question:
Before we took a little break you were talking about how race may affect your job. How your position with the Department of Justice may affect your job. Could you just continue talking about that?

Answer:
What was the context?

Question:
I think you were talking about it in terms of the trust issues with the parties who were involved in this particular case, the Louisville police department and black police officers.

Answer:
The trust issues there were ok. They got better as time went along which will happen in all situations unless you've had a history or experience with somebody in other circumstances of the case activity or something. At the initial point of contact I think the trust level is generally low because the other people just don't know who you are or where you're coming from. Often just the term the Department of Justice pops these pictures into people's minds of all kinds of things and most of them (but not all of them) are kind of pointed away from the trust as opposed to toward trust. But you work around that and you build it. You can build it over a short period of time if you put some effort into it. My experience has been just shoot straight with people and generally speaking that is enough.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

And there's tricks. Suppose you met with Heidi yesterday and I asked, "Hey, have you met with Heidi? How's she doing?" And then you'd say, "You know I haven't seen her for a couple of weeks," I wouldn't tell you that I know you're lying. I'd ask myself, why is she lying to me? Also, I would check to make sure you were with her. I may have already talked to her and I'm just innocently asking all these questions I already know the answers to.

Question:
If you knew I was lying, how would that affect how you do your job?

Answer:
Who can I rely on? That's how I have to make decisions. What is the best source, what's the best data available? If you later tell me something, then I would check and then triple check because I know you already didn't tell me the truth once. So are you a reliable person? Then I may just treat you courteously and be patient with you, but I'm not going to tell you any of the real stuff. But I have to learn that because I don't know anybody. People can tell me anything, but it's a process of verifying information, double checking information. If we're not proceeding on the correct path, we're not going to come up with correct results. It's all influenced by information.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Typically, a mediator in a standard conflict is the only one who is going to sit and listen to the whole story. This obviously builds trust, which is critical, and the most important component for the mediator. It opens up a party to talk more, so you get the information that you need because information is what you need in any negotiation. Empathic listening is the most important skill a mediator brings to this work.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I guess the one thing that I came to believe, was that trust is really the only commodity that we have. If you don't establish trust with the parties, and that's all the parties, if you can't establish trust with them, you don't have anything to offer them.



Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How were you able to build it and sustain the trust of the parties that were involved?

Answer:
I think part of it is that I tried to show some experience, some expertise that might be useful. I made it clear that it was their choice about whether or not to trust me, and at the same time I tried hard not to over-commit or over-promise what I could do. Over a period of time, we just got to know each other. With some of those white parents on the biracial council, it was just the fact that I was there every day. And they knew that they could call me at midnight if they needed to. That created a certain sense of trust . For many of them, I was practically the only "outside" contact they had -- "outside" in terms of being someone they knew who was intimately involved in the internal operation of the process. The other thing that I ended up finding was a key tool in generating trust with somebody like school officials, and even police, is that I tried to be at the court hearings and I took notes and made sure that I got copies of things like court orders , or anything that was issued in writing. I was amazed at how often that information or those documents never got to the local school building. So that in many cases, I was one of the primary sources of accurate information--I was sort of a one person rumor control system. I knew what the accurate information was, when no one else did. So that, I think, did a lot to help gain me some credibility and trust. But again, it's a gradual process. At first I was maybe tolerated at best. After a while I would try to find people to talk to and see whether I could have some input with, and then eventually people actually approached me for assistance, including the principal. It was a gradual process.

Question:
Do you think you were able to work effectively when the trust levels were on the lower end?

Answer:
Probably not. The white community in South Boston was so distrustful of this entire process that I sort of epitomized the court order, so they didn't trust me at all. Even the people who eventually served on that biracial parent council were there because they supported complaints about the court order. But they wanted their children to get an effective education, and they wanted to avoid violence. None of them, initially, was a strong supporter of desegregation in Boston. To some extent what was happening in South Boston just confirmed that this was a terrible idea, because who needs this? But some, like Jim in particular, reached the point of saying that this was long overdue. He felt they had to do that because they couldn't continue living with the attitudes that existed in that community. But none of them were strong pro-desegregation activists, and Lord knows, they were very cautious about what role if any they would play in this process, and whom to trust.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Would you say that having trust between you and the parties is more important than having the parties trust each other?

Answer:
Ultimately, my objective is to have them trust each other, but I think it is difficult to accomplish that if they don't trust me first. I am the one who is trying to arrange the situation in such a way that they can trust each other, so I mean if I had to choose between the parties trusting me and the parties trusting each other, I would choose the latter, because that is, after all, what we are working toward. And although my ego likes being massaged as much as anybody's, I like thinking that people trust me. That doesn't do me any good, though, unless they ultimately end up trusting each other. But I think one grows out of the other.

Question:
Can you be an effective mediator if the parties don't trust you?

Answer:
I guess it depends. My immediate response would be no, but I guess it would really depend on why they didn't trust me. If there is just some hesitation at first about whether or not they can trust me, that's one thing. If they don't trust me for a particular reason, that's different. I think that if they have a particular reason that they might not trust me beyond, "Can you trust any white women?" it might be difficult. But if it's just, "We're not sure, but what the heck -- we will give it a chance," well, that situation has possibilities. I can think of one mediation in particular: The case was in court when I was contacted. The judge called me and asked and of course it was the one day I came to work in jeans if I could go to court that afternoon. I said, "Sure, no problem," and then I had to decide whether to go shopping over lunch or go home and change. I decided that shopping would be much more fun; plus, I was closer to the store than I was to home. So I went shopping so that I would look semi-respectable going into court. Anyway, I was ultimately asked if I would be willing to mediate this particular case. I had some familiarity with both parties I had, in fact, mediated a case in that community seven years earlier, involving some of the same people. I found out later that some of the institution representatives had felt a little bit as if they were forced into that first agreement, so there wasn't a lot of trust at that point on the part of the institution. They expected that I would bully them into an agreement; on the other hand, their only other choice at the time was court. The community wasn't very optimistic, either -- they didn't believe that mediation would be very useful with that particular institution, because the institution was too hard-nosed, racist and inflexible, so they had very low expectations. Nevertheless, when the judge asked the parties if they'd be willing to mediate, neither party wanted to appear to be the unreasonable one. So they both said, "Sure." That ended up being a fairly long mediation, but they did reach agreement. The attorneys then prepared the settlement agreement and so on, which was an outgrowth of the mediation agreement. The institution representative came up to me -- this was either near the end of the mediation or right afterward -- and said, "Silke, when we started I didn't have any confidence in you at all, because I had heard such-and-such. This really worked well, though, and thank you for helping us on this." That person seemed very positive and appreciative of what I had done during that particular mediation process, so it was interesting.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You were talking about the importance of developing relationships and building trust.

Answer:
I think this kind of work in race relations, especially with mediation and conciliation, relates to the trust and confidence of all of the parties. In most situations these problems come about on account of discrimination and there's a lot of history related to it, a lot of distrust especially of officials and police. We do most of our work with police. So getting everyone dealing with these problems requires that the mediator or conciliator be a person of trust. That's the first thing, to get the confidence of the parties. The interpersonal relations depend upon the mediator's respect for the individuals who often haven't been treated with respect by authorities. The mediator needs to get their support and confidence that this intervention, this problem solving, is going to lead to something.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Now, I wasn't about to go out there and meet with these kids on my own immediately, because it would've taken years to get any kind of relationship going. So I got together with the gang workers, and they would then take me to these guys and say, "Hey, this guy's doing this. He wants to work with you because he understands this is happening. Tell him about it." Pretty soon, the whole problem was boiled down to cops. Cops, cops, cops. So I said, "Well, I'm going to see what we can do about that."



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You talked just a few minutes ago about how you were able to speak the language of the authorities, and that tells me that you were able to establish some level of trust. How important is trust in your role, and how were you able to develop it in this case?

Answer:
Trust is everything. You know sometimes, as mediators, or even in some other roles, if we don't assume that we know enough about the subject, and about the common interests, it is not there. I always assume that one of the reasons I was hired was because I brought certain skills and expertise to the table and then I was just sort of thrown into the lion's den rather quickly and was able to perform really well.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I'd like to go back and talk about trust. How important is it that you generate trust between yourself and the parties. How key is that to what you do?

Answer:
Trust certainly makes for more effectiveness, it makes one more effective as a mediator, at least in our culture. There'd have to be some confidence in a person's integrity or their ability, or else they would probably not be successful in persuading people to make a commitment to mediation.

Question:
How could you detect when you were succeeding in building trust?

Answer:
How would I know that I had trust?

Question:
How could you tell that you were getting the parties to be more comfortable to trust you more, to trust the process more? What signs were they giving you?

Answer:
Well, they would reveal the level of interest in it by questions and comments about it. Beyond that, I'm not sure that I could give you much of an answer.

Question:
Was it something very overt and obvious, as them saying, "Hey, we trust you now," or was it something a little more subtle than that?

Answer:
Oh, no it would be more subtle than that, like a willingness to proceed to accept recommendations or to participate in mediation. You could also tell by their level of frankness when talking about their concerns.

Question:
Were you able to operate if these levels were low or absent?

Answer:
Probably not.

Question:
Was your own race, ethnicity, age, or gender, ever a problem with you gaining trust?

Answer:
Oh yeah. I went into Monroe Prison, in the state of Washington, in response to a request from some of the African American inmates. They had arranged for me to talk with some of their members of the Black Prisoners Organization. Two or three of the members of this group, when we sat down to talk, upon hearing my accent, they asked, "Where you from?" "Alabama." It was immediate skepticism that anybody from Alabama could be of any help in this situation, or would be willing to be of any help. Really, there were times like this.

Question:
How were you able to get around that initial skepticism?

Answer:
Well, the same way I would when making a presentation to any group. I'd first try to get myself out of the way, by saying, "My name is Bob Hughes and as you notice, I am not from this area. I was born and raised in Alabama." Try to be up front and honest and open, and hopefully, get past that quickly in order to deal with more substantial issues. Deal with issues at hand. I would usually try to or make a joke about it. "I'm Bob Hughes, and as you noticed, I'm from South Mercer Island, or south Seattle."

Question:
Can you recall any examples of when you were used as a scapegoat by one of the parties?

Answer:
No, I don't recall being used in that way.

Question:
Did you have a special technique that you used to try to build trust between the parties?

Answer:
Getting them to work together, that is part of the mediation process. Maybe in joint committees, or task groups, which seem to be a very productive area for developing collaboration. I didn't have any particular exercises, for example, or training in that way that would have the effect of building trust.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What was the role of trust in this particular case? Was that important?

Answer:
Yeah the fact that it was taking place here in Atlanta and the fact that CRS in this office has a good working relationship with the city, county, county sheriffs throughout the state, county police, and state patrol. That history had a lot to do with allowing us to enter. Because the key actors in terms of law enforcement were the City of Atlanta and Georgia Bureau or Investigations (GBI) and Atlanta State Patrol. Those were probably the three local power makers.

Question:
Ok.

Answer:
So we already had working relationships because of other casework with them and that trust level was already there on both sides. Generally speaking, if you have a respected law enforcement person who speaks up for you that takes care of about 80% of that trust with all the others because if he buys then everyone else agrees it's okay. We had very good rapport with all the law enforcement agencies, even at the federal level.

Question:
So you didn't have to do anything to build or sustain any type of trust because it already existed on a high level?

Answer:
Yeah.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

If a party comes to the table and asks you a question that you're not quite ready to divulge the answer to, how do you approach that situation?

Answer:
A lot of times people ask me, "What did he or she tell you?" "I can't reveal that information." But I'll say, "Look, there are some things, because of the way we do our work, we'd best keep confidential." I'm really trying to help everybody. I wouldn't tell her everything you told me, so I'm not going to tell you everything she told me."

Question:
Trust building is very important here. What do you do to break the ice to ensure that trust is being made between you and the parties?

Answer:
It's a step at a time. You trust me to this one point, and I'll trust you to that one point. I'll keep trusting you until there's a reason not to trust you. You keep trust in me. Hopefully there will be trust in me all the way.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How important is trust, can you operate if you aren't able to gain trust the trust of the parties?

Answer:
I don't think so. At least a certain level of trust. You talk about absolute proof, or proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You don't have to have absolute trust, but it must be enough trust to be able to do the job. I guess that can vary with different people; some people trust you more, some people trust you less. But you're not asking them to trust you, you're just asking them to consider what is being proposed or consider options that you're proposing or your presentation of different perspectives. They decide on that. Also, once I've met them, they make the judgment of if I was true to what I said I was going to do or not. Did I hold things in confidence that they wanted me to? Did I talk to those people that I said I was going to talk to? So maybe not necessarily trust, but there's a working relationship. And as long as there's a working relationship, that's all we need to be effective.

Question:
What about trust between the parties?

Answer:
I guess it's pretty much the same. They test each other out. If they establish a working relationship based on whatever they're going to do together, then the process itself begins creating this trust among them. You can't just say, "Hey trust me." They never have total trust, especially if there's been a history of mistrust, but a lot of times that mistrust is based on misunderstanding, or lack of understanding. So through a process it creates an opportunity for trust.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The key is constantly working on developing a relationship -- developing trust levels. Some people are not interested in trust levels because they go by authority. If you go in and say you're in the Justice Department and that you're an authority figure, you're not going to get anywhere. Most people resist that, especially so-called militant minorities. They've been stepped-on so much it's incredible; they don't want to hear that, so you have to work on it.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

People know when you are a phony. Lots of these people out in the field who are fighting for an issue are more sophisticated than you are, or as sophisticated. So you never go in with the idea that since you are a trained mediator, that you're going to be able to snow somebody about your level of expertise or competence or anything else. The key to all of this is being yourself. People will see that, for the most part. And when they do see that, they're more willing to trust you. But when you go in and try to let them think that you have some special knowledge, which you may have, it won't work. They're going to have to conclude that you have that special knowledge on their own. You can't convey the message to them that, "Oh. I'm special." Because all that does is turn them off. And in hostile situations, the last thing you need is to have people turned off out here in the streets. But once they feel that you might be of substance, then they're willing to take a chance on you. And that's how all this stuff happens. I don't care who said what. This is how all this stuff happens. People have to feel some kind of degree of confidence in you that you can help them. Now in some instances, there are individuals who are not going to fall for you because they don't want to see you. There are those people out there who don't want to see any progress made, we just can't assume in going into a situation that everybody wants to work this out and that everybody wants to "come to yes". They don't want to.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Was it important for you to find out?

Answer:
No. Not necessarily. Think about how effective you cannot be if you're wandering around trying to figure out who likes you. Your concern is doing the best job you can do to get people to come together and agree to some kind of agreement. My God, if you're carrying that baggage around, trying to figure out who likes me because of whatever, you'll never get anything done. But once they come to the conclusion, or maybe come to a "halfway" conclusion that you don't really give a darn whether you think this, that, or the other, then they move on and cut the silliness out.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were you ever able to do anything to improve your credibility with the blacks?

Answer:
Oh sure, but they just couldn't acknowledge it. They got good things out of this, just like everybody else did, and they were intelligent. You don't expect people to trust you because they are still incarcerated and you are outside. When you leave them, you go and meet with the man upstairs and they know that. So I don't make any pretenses. I try to gain their trust, but I expect only limited success. At St. Cloud, mediation was the best thing the residents had going for them at that point in time. And their trusted outside advisors told them that. That's why they were ready to discontinue the lock in. If you have no credibility whatsoever, then you might as well pack it in and leave.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you find that itís easier to gain trust if you meet in person rather than trying to form a relationship over the phone?

Answer:
Face to face sounds better, but we didnít have a choice. You just have to do it every way. Sometimes people donít know who you are, what color you are, how old you are, and sometimes itís better if they donít see you. That way you can talk to them and build rapport. So I donít have an answer.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We would discuss the options. Youíre probably going to get better answers on that question from the people who are in the field day in and day out, rather than a regional director. Sometimes, staff would do things that they shouldnít do. Certainly during Wounded Knee, people were asking us to smuggle things in. Sometimes we would, staff would do that because we thought it would help out in the long run. Thatís how you deal with trust, thatís how you get people to talk to you, bringing food into Wounded Knee. Sometimes you couldnít do it. But you had to do it at Wounded Knee, where it was important that they had some gasoline so responsible leaders could move their motor vehicles between these bunkers where armed people were, so they could communicate with them and control the shooting. So we knew when they were siphoning gas from the tanks of our cars, thatís how it was going to be used. So we didnít fight it. We just tried not to get caught on the road with out gas on the way back, which would happen from time to time. So youíre there -- you couldnít do it, and you shouldnít have done it, but you did it because you knew in the end it was going to be helpful.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Can you operate if one of the parties or both of the parties don't trust you?

Answer:
I don't think so. If I was aware of that or if they made it clear, I try to be directive about that by saying, "if there's anything about who I am, what I'm doing, or how I'm doing it that you don't trust or you're uncomfortable with, if I can't relieve you of that, then I'll help you find somebody else to help you." I try to keep that door open. I think trust is the only currency you have. And if that currency's not there, you don't have anything to operate on.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
It would seem to me that that would create quite a trust-building problem. That they were working with somebody all the way through and then all of a sudden, the personnel change and they've got a new person in there. Did you have a hard time?

Answer:
Not a hard time. The Texas one...well, that's not really a real case because it just happened really fast and they wanted to get things over with. There are some strange dynamics involved with a Californian going into Texas. But I was called in there, and the fellow who set up the situation was Texan and he took me down there the first time, and then it was up to me. That means that I had to go back several times before they said, "Yeah, let's sit down and really do it." Although I had agreed to mediate, they wanted to find out who I was. That's the way it happened. With Nevada, both of us went in at the same time, so that was really no problem of trust. The thing of trust is one of the things where you go in there and you say, "My name is so-and-so and I'm with the Federal Government, and I'm here to help." And they say, "Yeah, okay. How long is it going to take you to make us believe that you're going to try to help us?" And that's true in every case. It doesn't really matter if I go in there from the very beginning or if I go in there after this other guy. He's already laid down some level of trust, and there's sort of a carry-over of that trust onto me. So I never really saw that as a problem and I never met that as a problem. In fact, I never thought about it. The guy says, "Come on in." I came in and we started working and although we discussed potential problems, potential "problem people" and certainly the issues, we didn't ask, "Are they going to trust us?" and these sorts of things.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What do you consider to be your greatest strength as a mediator while you were in CRS?

Answer:
I think my ability to easily gain trust. I've been told that I have an honest face and I suspect that some people see that and I'm able to follow that with my own commitment to be of service to them.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

One of the things I see with people who don't trust you, is how soon they want to get rid of you, and get you out of town. On the other hand, if people really are wanting you to assist and make yourselves available to help, and bring a better resolution to their problems, they will begin to talk in terms of additional meetings, who else to see, who else to contact, where to stay, where the good restaurants are, and all of these little things. But when they're trying to get rid of you, looking at their watches, that means they want you out of town. And then they start telling you about what can't happen and what's not going to happen. They have taken a rigid position and there's nothing anybody can say. "This is our problem, and the people in Washington don't have a damn thing to do with it." So you know, you have some resisters there. But when you find people who are beginning to listen, and start talking in terms of who else to see, where to stay, where to eat, and all of this, then you know you have someone or some group that's willing to perhaps look at another point of view and try to work with you.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Because the problem is not necessarily what somebody did or didn't do, the problem is the fact that we don't trust each other, we don't communicate with each other, we're very suspicious of each other. We do hostile things to each other because we don't know any better. Through the process we get to see each other as human beings, and we have so much in common. We're just trying to make a living and we're looking out for our kids education and what have you. That's universal. That's the solution and they can do all kinds of things tangent to that, once they have this trust of each other. Sometimes it takes an outsider with no interest other than wanting to help them. We don't give out any money, we don't sell anything. If they don't have to accept us there, they can run us out of town. I tell them that if at any time they think my presence is negative for them, let me know. Because I'd rather not do anything than do something harmful. All they have to do is just tell me.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So that's why they need the community to help them do their job. But sometimes there's a damaged relationship, the community is reluctant. They see the police as the enemy, they see the police as the occupation force. That indicates a bad relationship. Also, minorities and police historically have met each other in negative situations. Getting a ticket, getting arrested, and that's it, so there needs to be opportunities in a positive atmosphere, so they can get to know each other. We're just like you, we bleed, we hurt, we have children, we have families, and so there's opportunities for coming together and forming partnerships to help each other out.



Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
And actually that's my next question, how important was it for you to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Oh well, you know probably in almost all cases there's an outsider and you're always faced with that because in most cases people don't know you. At this particular time, and at any time over the history of CRS being a representative of the Justice Department, you were always suspect by somebody and it would depend on the community, depend on the times that would shift, who was particularly suspicious about who you were. The way that you overcome that is just by sitting down and talking with people and demonstrating to them you're committed, you're involved in helping them find a solution. You can be answering questions people have concerns about, if they have any, what they see as leniency on one side or the other. If you try to clear that up they will come to trust you, but it takes some work and preparation. I think over time as they see that you're there to be of help, there are no suspicions about where your commitments are. It's only over a period of time that as people get to know you, those sorts of suspicions get to be set aside.







Copyright © 2000-2007
by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado