How did you build trust with the disputants?


Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How did you do that?

Answer:
Sitting down and meeting with them, especially with the gang-type kids. Going into the African American community, I needed to go to this old abandoned outdoor shopping mall that had had its heyday from World War II until about 1970 or so. It was right near a park, and the kids began hanging around there -- the Latinos, especially. I'm not saying that the African American kids didn't hang around parks, but the Latinos' turf was really the parks. So it was going out there and meeting with these guys. 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."




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How were you able to get the parties to trust you or to buy into your process, what were the special techniques you used?

Answer:
Starting cold, if I came in here, I'd have gone into your office, I would have looked at what you have around you cause that's important to you. If you have pictures of your family, I'd ask you about your kids and I'd tell you about my kids. I'd tell you where I've been and what I've done lately. The town, I'd tell you about the temperature of the town. And there's always something there. Try to find that.

Question:
And what did you [unknown]?

Answer:
Because it's so hot down there, it takes certain fortitude and strength to be out there on a boat eight hours a day, the sun beating on you and the boat rocking all the time. So what I did the first time I went there, I went to the dock I just sat there for two hours, to try to understand what makes a person be here, when they could be doing some other job. I just asked them why. I showed an interest in their situation, in their lives. It's just human interaction. We're all human beings, so they see my humanity and I see their humanity. Now we can work. I can't just go up and say, "Hey, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," you know that old line. When you walk into a sheriff's office let's say, you walk differently. Wear my other boots, the ones that make a sound, they're more like semi cowboy boots, wear my suit, pinstripe probably, blue tie, walk in there like you belong. Take a different position, ask some tough questions, but in a very friendly manner, and at some point they'll know you're not there to investigate them. You're not there to prosecute them, you're not there to do them harm so that they have to watch out and look out and be careful what they tell you. The more comfortable they feel with you, the more they'll tell you. That's the only way to help them because you have to understand their reality. Their reality from their point of view. That's the only way you can understand them, to try to help them resolve their own problems.




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.

Question:
What were some specific trust- building strategies or activities that you used when either race, ethnicity, gender, or CRS affiliation was an issue?

Answer:
I would find someone from whatever the community it might be and in this particular situation it was in the black and the white community. I knew that if I would involve the community in this process it would be helpful to have people within the community who knew me, to introduce me to people and become a bridge and to be a patron of what was happening. And in that particular case there was a prominent State Legislator that I had known for many years and he was well loved in the community and became my bridge into that community. There were parts of the community that I needed to have some access to. It was also true on the other side that we were going to want the business community leaders in particular cities to be committed because in this particular city nothing happened unless a "blue book business" leader was being alarmed. So again, it was through someone I had met in the city, in another case, that became the bridge into that organization where I could go over there and speak and talk about what I was trying to do. I could win their support that if we could reach an agreement it was going to be something the business community was going to support.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So how did you build trust with her?

Answer:
Well, initially, during the course of our discussions and conversations, she would ask me about various individuals that I might have known around the country -- around the United States. Eventually, I realized that she had contacted some of these individuals to find out whether or not their perception of me was consistent with what I was telling her. In other words, she wanted to determine whether I was lying to her about certain people that we both happened to know throughout the country. It appears that for the most part, I came out okay, because she later perceived me as being a "straight shooter," an honest individual. And as a result, she slowly began to think that I was a creditable person. After she felt that I was of some credibility, she began to share certain agendas with me, hoping that she could trust me with her desires for the Indian community in the present and in the future. So I went home from our initial meeting, and about two weeks later I returned. I got off the plane, I drove to the hotel and after being there for about a half-hour, I received a phone call and learned that Alice had planned, for that evening, a meeting at the local Indian center. About four hundred people had gathered in a gym that was part of a poverty program called Opportunities, Inc. The Indians' major social life and business life and everything else was run right out of that building, and I didn't know that. Everything that they did as urban Indians, they worked it out of there and this woman was behind it. At any rate, I had not agreed to any meeting, but I went and spoke to everyone there. And I've learned since then that most good leaders will allow input from their followers. That's a trait of an excellent leader -- of someone who has earned the respect of most of his or her followers.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It took weeks, months, to establish a relationship, because I was going in and out of the city, as well as handling other assignments. The timing was everything as to when you went to a particular town, a particular community. Key things would come up, sometimes a meeting with the governor or a meeting of all the Indians or a meeting with AIM representatives. 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.



Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Tell me a little bit about how you go about building trust, especially with the white community.

Answer:
Well, one way that it happens is that many of the cities in which CRS intervenes Ė or has interventions Ė are repeats. So, you know, Silke has probably been into wherever Ė Aurora, letís say Ė thousands of times over the last 15 years that sheís been in Denver. After a while, people get to know you, and so trust gets built up over what you did in the past. People trust you from that standpoint, and thatís one way that it happens. Another way it happens is to go in and suggest to the establishment, "Gee, Police Chief Jones, why donít you call Chief Johnson in so-and-so city. Youíre all members of the Association of Chiefs of Police. Give him a call and talk to him about what we did.Ē Often times, that would even happen without your having to suggest that. So you make your phone calls, that youíre going to intervene, so thereís usually a lapse time of a day or two. By the time you get there, that police chief may have already checked you out.....

Question:
Have you ever had a problem where you werenít trusted because of your race?

Answer:
Sure. I did an intervention in one of the bigger midwestern cities. Again, it was a situation of police using excessive force. It was a mediation, and I donít think the police chief trusted me; I think he felt that I was not neutral. So I think there was a situation where the mediation broke down. I donít know that it broke down completely because the police chief didnít trust me; I think there were other factors involved....

Question:
Were you able to get around that?

Answer:
Again, without fully knowing the real reason the mediation broke down, itís hard to say. I was there on two occasions for relatively short intervals, for maybe two days. Itís hard to say, without a lot of discourse in between the actual sessions, what aspect of this had to do with the fact that he didnít trust me. I donít think he would have ever said that, and I would have had to attempt to ferret that out in some form or fashion, which would have been difficult to do without more exposure to him and more feedback.




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.



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.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I'd make contact with someone who was working with these kids, and he would take me in there. Of course, they immediately see that I'm not African American, so there's a lot of questions about, "Whose side are you going to be on?" So I said, "Look. The only way we can get past that is for you to try me out, and then I'll come back and talk to you." I didn't dare bring in an African American worker with me, because the response would be, "Look at you! You need that guy to come in here and talk to us. You can't do it on your own." So I kept going back and eventually the guys agreed that maybe we ought to get together and talk about the issues. In the meantime, there was a high school principal that agreed to work with me, as well as an African American gang worker. There was another school representative as well, an African American, that agreed to work with us to bring these kids together and help determine what could be done. They had a much greater influence on those kids than I ever could. So there was an agreement: "Let's confront those cops and see what we can do about this whole situation."



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It's just a shooting-the-breeze kind of thing and it builds a lot of the trust -- as long as you don't preach to them. In some instances you even say, "Yeah, that guy's an idiot. He got what he deserved. But maybe you should take a different approach." And I used to tell them, "I remember when I'd get a call from a police officer and he arrested one of my guys and I said, 'Oh yeah?' 'Yeah. But the guy getting out of the car fell and he bumped his head on the floor and hit his head on the stairs.'" So you let them know that you're aware of all their little tricks, but you don't condemn them except by maybe suggesting that there are better ways of doing things. One of the hardest things in talking to these guys was getting myself out of a certain role on the one hand, and the other one, preaching. They don't tolerate preaching very well. It's like they're daring you to train them. If you can sit and have a beer with these guys, though, sometimes they start to understand what you're trying to say. But again, it takes time. The allowances should be made by the agency and not be considered as a waste of time. "My God!



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I was aware that he represented a certain culture of white police, and that I had to approach him in such a way. But with them, I had to first find out, "Who's this guy? What does he do? What is he known to have done? How is he known to approach people? What is his attitude toward..." All of these other kinds of things, so that I had a picture of this guy when I went in to see him, and therefore I could approach him in such a way that he didn't kick me out of his office. And at the same time, I needed to try to talk his language. I'm not going to totally be able to speak his language, but I can show him that I understand some of the things that are happening within the system and also try to put myself in such a position that he's willing to listen to me and willing to talk to me. Now that's extremely difficult, but sometimes it happens. And it takes time. You know, this whole thing about drinking their ugly coffee with them all of the time... I don't know if you've had that opportunity. I've had bad coffee. And you've got to sit there and talk. It takes a lot of visits to get the guy to say, "Well maybe this guy isn't going to try to do something to me afterall." And you always keep away from media. Not that the media's going to come rushing to you on a case and want to know what earth-shaking thing is happening there, because the kind of cases that we get involved with just aren't that earth-shaking, except for the people that you're dealing with. But, there are some times where the media wants to get into it, and you have to slow them down. When you slow them down, they go away and they usually never come back.



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.

Question:
Now I'm sure that you have some special techniques that you were able to use. You said that you were able to speak the language and so that made them feel comfortable with you. Give us an example of what type of languages were you using, what things were said, and when?

Answer:
Talking to the media officials' side, I was able to convince them that I did know the community. I was able to tell my own story of how I went to school, how I got to the university and why I got to the university, and eventually graduated, and what I had done to become, you know at the time, the only Hispanic in a management position. That I think was impressive to them and the fact that I showed a lot of honesty as to what the positions of the minority community were and what the consequences would be if something else came out -- a different outcome.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How do you get over that hurdle where they're saying, "Look, you probably are just one of them, you're on their side. Why should I even talk to you?"

Answer:
One of the pluses and minuses of working for the US Department of Justice, particularly with anything that has the potential for violence, is that they will listen to you. Some assumptions are made that by coming from the Department of Justice, we will bring in law enforcement, or some type of adjudication. And needless to say, we do not say that we will not do these things, because if that is the only resolution, we'll go to those resources. So we're able to get a lot of information from them with that particular handle. On the other hand, if you go to the minority community and the US department of Justice is the focus, they immediately say, "You're the F.B.I.," or nowadays, "You're INS." They clam up and inevitably, someone within the group will actually make an issue of the fact that we're from the Department of Justice, so we have to overcome those things. If that is the issue, and it's visible to us that whoever has brought it up has predominated for the time being, we'll leave the meeting. Then we'll call other individuals and meet with them separately and work our way back into the dispute.

Question:
Do you call other individuals outside of their community group?

Answer:
No. We'll call people that we have known, who are in the group. We'll say, "Well, let your group settle whether or not they want us and in the meantime we'll go talk to the police department. Generally, by that evening, we'll find a way of talking to one of the leaders and say, "Since earlier today, this is what we've learned." And a lot of times, the disputes that they're working are actually public disputes, and just about everybody has some idea about what's going on. There's usually a lot of available information and we're able to gain a lot of it very quickly. So we're able to bring a lot of information very quickly and we can convince them that we do have that ability to bring a new focus on the dispute. They hadn't even thought about that.




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.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Some of the other things that are happening are that they're getting to know me and the agency, and I'm establishing a relationship with them, and I hope this is the basis of some degree of trust. The way that I pose my questions and the way that I'm not accusing them of being judgmental, trying to get as objective of an answer as possible. I think that's important at this stage. That's one of the things that's taking place. Also, in order to get answers from them, I may be, to a certain extent, interpreting to a limited degree the positions from the other side. That's a dangerous sort of thing to do, but in order to get their views of something, I may need to say, "I have heard, or understand, or was told, that so and so had happened, and they're very concerned about it. Are you aware of this?" That sort of thing. So it's the beginning of communication through me as a third party, but I keep that at a minimum at this stage.

Question:
It sounds like trust is very important in that initial assessment. How were you able to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Okay, good question. Each time you go back to them, you're saying the same things, you're consistent. Consistency is important. And that can be a laborious process, but I usually start in going back over what I may have gone over with them before. "And as you may recall, the Community Relations Service is this and not that." After a certain amount of repetition, they begin to hear the same things consistently. Then when we finally get together, I say the same things again, and both sides are hearing it together. He knows that they know that he knows that they know. That sort of thing is building a basis for communication.

Question:
Now at the same time that you're building trust between you and the various parties, what are you doing to build the trust between the various parties themselves?

Answer:
I'm not necessarily doing that at this point. I'm trying to build a relationship with me, get me accepted, to empower me to be in a position to get them together. But in the back of my mind is that joint meeting out there, in which they're face to face and interpreting issues themselves, not through me. Hopefully they're consistent with what I may have alluded to, but of course they go much further than I would have.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

She told me to talk to the people and tell them about myself, which I did, and we went into answering a few questions, and I just laid it out. I said, "I don't know what the situation is here. I don't have any idea, I just heard there's been an alleged suicide." She liked the fact the I used the word "alleged", because they were all very smart people. They were all weighing my words so that they would know whether or not I was coming in with the typical rhetoric that a lot of bureaucrats had come in and given them. If it had been that way, I would have been dismissed and thought of as somebody who had just come to placate the mayor, the City Manager, and the rest of them. She found out that I wasn't there to placate anybody and that I didn't know a lot about the situation. But I was going to learn more in the days ahead, meeting with the police chief and mayor and sheriff and going to the scene where the young man was hanged and everything else.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.



Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How did you diminish tension between very hostile parties?

Answer:
I donít know. I guess there were a number of different techniques. One way would be to actually bring people into a forum where they could hear what the other person was saying, absent of the kind of rhetorical flourishes that would often-times take place in the other forum. So, in one situation in that midwestern city I mentioned earlier, the local militant, who was given to walking into the City Council chambers and completely disrupting the City Council meeting, but had to be escorted or carried out by the police Ė that, and activities like that, defined who he was in the minds of the white establishment, which created a certain amount of tension. So what we were offering was a different forum for him to be heard. The response was, "Heís going to act up.Ē "Well, youíve got to trust us that heís not going to take that particular stance.Ē And then thatís your job, as the intervener, to assure that that doesnít happen, to a certain extent. So, often-times youíd hear things: "You never told me that before.Ē "You never gave me the chance to talk to you like that.Ē When you start hearing that dialogue, you can start pulling out. I mean, you can start literally pulling yourself out of the triad. Theyíre talking to each other; theyíre now talking from the heart about what they didnít say to each other, over all of these years that they could have been talking. "I didnít know you felt this way.Ē "Well, you werenít listening.Ē So, thatís one way. CBMs are another way Ė Confidence-Building Measures. Itís another way of doing it: "So, demonstrate to me that youíre serious about making some change, and then Iíll respond.Ē Typical in the international arena, but Confidence-Building Measures can also be demonstrated in local, domestic issues as well. So thatís another way of doing it. The classic building-block approach Ė the whole way you build trust.....




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Residents got a hold of a confidential memo that said in two weeks, construction of a new dining room was to begin as the first step of the reorganization. This was in total violation of our agreement. I had assured the inmates that this wouldnít happen. I phoned and called the deputy director who said, "No, this shouldnít be happening. I didnít know that they were going to head that way, but I guess they plan to.Ē I then phoned the commissioner and said, "It looks like we are going to have to stop mediation. What Iíd like to do is meet with you and the support team to the inmates.Ē I rented a room at the Holiday Inn for the next morning and we met there at eight oíclock. The BBDCO support group from Minneapolis was there. The lawyer for the Hispanics was there, about seven of us. We met with the commissioner and we told him what had happened. He was furious. Now Iíll tell you what was going on. The deputy commissioner was an alcoholic. I suspected something when I saw him dancing with a young blonde one night at the tower of the St. Paul Hilton, where I used to stay when I was in St. Paul. I foolishly said hello to him, and he didnít even acknowledge me. I figured something was going on. Heíd been on health leave a few times. The Commissioners said, "Iím going to fire him and Iím going to remove the superintendent too." As we left he said, "I want mediation to continue, so Iím going to remove them. Iím going to appoint Orville Pung acting deputy and his only job is going to be to supervise this. Iím going to remove the superintendent and who else do you recommend go?" I said, "Donít remove the superintendent." Let Orville Pung decide that one. There I was giving him advice, which seemed to be appropriate at the time. He was so angry he was going to fire half of them. Orville Pung came in and we continued mediation without a problem. The mediator was finally controlling the process. Pung, incidentally, went on to become Commissioner of Corrections.



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.

Question:
Is there anything else you did to build credibility that you haven't mentioned?

Answer:
At one point, I brought in Ellis McDougal as a consultant. He was corrections commissioner in Georgia at the time and a consultant to CRS. He met with Orville Pung. Being able to bring in that kind of guy is useful. You never know if that helps or doesn't help the credibility, but I think it does. I think one thing that was very important was always doing what I said I would do, when I said I would do it. I found judges appreciated this, amazingly, when we did a court-referred mediation. If I say I am going to call on Thursday afternoon, then I call on Thursday afternoon. No postponements, no delays, and they do appreciate that. In this case too, if I said I was going to do something, I did it.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You begin to build your information base, your assessment about whatís happening. Also during this time, you try to build some trust and get some indication whether they would be receptive to your coming in. Or you might just say, "weíre coming in.Ē You might say, "weíre coming in for this matter," or you might say, "Iím going to be in the area anyway, Iíd like to drop by and chat with you about it when Iím in your city."



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Sure, race was an issue for anyone who went into the field and interacted with other races. Itís a fact of life. Factors that influence that were, were you new on a scene, how did you compose yourself, what were the tension levels, who were you meeting with locally, who were you with from your own staff, who invited you in, who was there from the community? All of these things could be factors in how you were treated. Like mediation of any kind, your job was to build trust. You had to build trust. If you didnít, you couldnít work effectively. Some will say "If you canít build trust, get out of there and go home.Ē Well, you canít always get out of there.

Question:
What do you do?

Answer:
You do the best you can. You canít tell in advance how it will work out.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So that is a way to build trust?

Answer:
Well, you give everybody an excuse; you cover both sides. You leave yourself exposed, but you know they want you there, so nobodyís going to call you on it. It lets everybody save face as well.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I met with them at their regular meeting and then I would have a schedule when I met with people individually. The group meetings were more to create trust with me. They would know me, they knew that I was really interested in what was going on. Interested enough to know what their group was about and spend time with them.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

One of the things that I tell people is that, "I have as much responsibility to protect your interests as I do my interests.Ē That if I violate anybody in the process then I'm not holding up my end of the bargain. That if I do anything to diminish the institution, the students, the faculty, anybody, if I do anything that diminishes anyone then I have violated my commitment to you. And if you see that, or perceive that, then I want you to tell me. If it's occurred, I respond to that in a way that says I need to fix that, I need to do something about that. For example, if you've told someone that you aren't there to investigate them and it shows up in the newspaper, or the Justice Department shows up to investigate universityís treatment of minorities, well that can take away your trust.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The media always wants us to investigate, and no matter how often you tell them, "We aren't investigating,Ē it shows up in the headlines that Justice is there to investigate. You have to respond immediately back to the institution or the minorities, or whoever is involved and say, "I know that's happened and I'm sorry. There is nothing I can do about it, but this is what I told them and this is still the reality." I guess the other part of that is learning not ever to become defensive. If someone challenged me on something, then I try to respond to that in terms of if they believed that was the way I was acting, then I would respond to that and make changes.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What about in the context of the case? Do you do any training, especially with a minority group, in order to somewhat level the playing field?

Answer:
I would talk to the establishment and the minority group about learning how to clarify issues, and begin to strategize. I'll coach and train them. I'll sit in private with them, in kind of a teaching mode, and explain to them how to respond to a system and get what you need in a productive way. If you're going to do some destructive things, you can do that on your own. If you want to be productive, then I want to help you with that. A lot of the coaching, teaching, and technical assistance was not behind the scenes because I made sure everyone knew I was doing that. It wasn't undercover, I wasn't sneaking around and helping. Some of the establishment people weren't any more sophisticated about the issue than the community groups were, so I'd do the same thing for them. Generally, the issues were being generated out of the community because the establishment says they don't have any problems. The teaching and the coaching on the establishment side was to help them understand the dynamic of perception. I didn't feel like I had to make them fess up and say, "Yeah, we violated this rule," or, "We've not done all we can do." If you have to get them to confess, you're not going to get them to the table. If I could get them to say, "Sure, we could do better," then that's what I was after. My next goal is to help them emphasize and say, "We're not doing that. But, if they believe we're doing it, I understand why they're so frustrated." That was my next indication that we were moving in the right direction.

Question:
Can you verbalize how you moved in that way?

Answer:
It took time establishing that trust relationship. The community would be saying the same thing, "They're not going to be fair or honest. They're not going to deal with us with integrity, they never have." To be able to come to some point and say to the community, "They have assured me that they're coming to the table in good faith. Now I'm going to take them at their word. Are you going to at least give it a shot?" The same thing with the establishment. It was a matter of being able to verbalize for the community at first, this is how they feel. "If that happened to you, how would you feel?" "Well, I'd feel awful. But we didn't do that." "Well, I'm not saying you did. But if they believe you did, they feel that." That worked.

Question:
You're doing this before the group meeting?

Answer:
Yes. Right. One of my decisions about whether they were ready to meet at the table was whether or not I could get any glimmer of empathy from all sides, however many sides there were. If I couldn't get some awareness or sensitivity to other party's position, I was reluctant to go to the table. I might continue shuttling back and forth and come up with some kind of an agreement, but if you can't create empathy, you can't have a relationship. Without that, mediation is not going to work. If there's no reason for us to relate, there's no reason for me to empathize with you.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What did you do to reduce the initial distrust from the corporations?

Answer:
Good question. Even though we might not have been part of their private caucuses, we did meet with them in caucus. So that part of it was their realization that we kept our confidence when we said we would. I think they began to recognize that kind of shuttle diplomacy, and in this case, not just shuttle diplomacy but shuttle telephone diplomacy, that we were facilitating, was in fact bringing the two parties closer. I think they began to see our even handedness, that we didn't try to push them or pressure them into accepting deals or making agreements with which they were uncomfortable. The more time we spent on this, the more they began to realize that we were, in fact, facilitating and not trying to coerce them into accepting the position being presented by the other party and vice versa.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

but you're still going to have to prove yourself all the way down the line. Whereas the guy who has had the experience, he can talk the language all the way down, he doesn't have to prove anything.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So you ended up having meetings for quite a long time?

Answer:
Right. It all had to do with building some kind of trust in what it was that we wanted to do.




Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How did you get around that?

Answer:
Well, I stressed what we were all working toward the same goal, and that kind of allayed their concerns. But hey, if you're not a cop, you're not a cop and you're not with them. So you have to do a lot of talking with them -- you have to have coffee with them, or go out for a beer. You know, having a beer with some of these cops did a lot more than sitting down with them with the groups. Because when you're having a beer, the mood is a lot more relaxed. You can talk about what it is that people are thinking.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What types of things specifically were you able to do to sustain the trust level over the six month period?

Answer:
A lot of it was done locally. I was actually stationed in Dallas. The agency was able to identify other minorities who at the time were just starting in the media, but had actually hosted minority programming. Another example was that we were able to bring some minority writers to the meetings and explain the benefits of minority programs, and that minorities would listen to such programs. So we were able to work with the minority group, and eventually, they were able to show that the type of proposals that were on the table were realistic -- that it would be a benefit to everyone.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

They see the disputes as something they can handle, even though in a lot of cases we eventually find out that they haven't been handling it for a long time. But in their minds, they think that they've been handling it and they've been handling it correctly. And as long as they have that attitude, they don't allow anyone else to come in. The other is the aura that exists in many of these groups, but particularly for public agencies that would deal with the idea that an outsider is coming in without them first identifying the outsider and paying for those services. It's just not existent in their day to day work, but in the way that they work and the way that they think. So we have to work our way in, really wiggle our way into a trust level and the fact that we are able to actually help them out.

Question:
Talk about how you do that.

Answer:
Initially talk about the fact that we have a relationship with the other side, and of course, that in itself becomes skeptical, the fact that we were able to have some type of relationship. And the question that comes up is if you have a relationship, how can you be neutral, (although it's never worded, it's never put into that) how can you help if you already made up your mind that they're correct and we're not and you already possibly have a solution? So we try to show them where the common interest is to that dispute and who can resolve it. And in a lot of cases the parties themselves have not looked at other resources.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The other is gaining trust and working with them so that we can determine their priorities. We must also continue to ask them how we can best be of service to this dispute, and determine where the resolution lies.

Question:
What about getting trust not just between you and the parties, but between the parties themselves? Like between the minority groups and the majority groups. Presumably at the beginning of these conflicts there's a high level of distrust. What did you do?

Answer:
The biggest obstacle for us is gaining the trust of the minority group, because there's distrust among themselves, first of all. Despite the fact they have years of history, they don't come together that often. So what we find is that they don't really know each other as well as they think they do. And as I mentioned before, their share of time to give to the dispute or to give to the community, is very small. So we work a lot within the group itself so that it can coalesce and it can focus on the issues.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You told me a little earlier about how you build trust between yourself and various parties. What specifically are you able to do to gain trust between the parties, if anything?

Answer:
There's certainly the assignment of particular tasks to joint committees. That builds trust and working relationships between those involved in that. When they come back in with an agreed upon, joint position, then that's communicated to the other. I don't know that I do anything specific.

Question:
Those tasks are interesting though, so you come up with those on your own?

Answer:
Yes. It may be very obvious. I look for opportunities to assign a joint committee to work on this, especially overnight.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

To handle crowd control like at the Republican Convention, we spent a year building those relationships. If you go in cold, it's more difficult. You find out who's going to protest at the Republican Convention. So that when things did go wrong, they knew us.



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.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Can you talk some more about what you specifically did in building trust, particularly among el Comite?

Answer:
You have to learn how to get along with the people. You can't sit down with them, and immediately expect them to talk to you like you're one of them. You're trying to lead them in a direction, but you can only push so hard. So what you do is just listen mostly. You listen and you converse, and if need be, you go to the lounge and have a beer afterwards with one of the leaders. And they begin to build trust. Then you provide information and resource information that would be helpful to the group. We have a lot of that in CRS. So you provide that information. Then they feel like you are, to a degree, on our side. They know that we're on their side only to provide that information. But you don't tell them "you must do this or you must do that." Or "I'm going to tell the chief that this is what you're going to do." Because whatever they tell me, they tell me, and that's where it stays. Whatever the chief tells me, I don't tell them, they can search that out themselves. If they desire to push, then it's up to them to push, not for me. But anyway, I just established that rapport over a period of time, over weeks. We got along fine, if they needed resources for education purposes, I brought that along and we talked about it and they formed groups on that and they formed groups on employment and then they went on for their election. Just like any community group that wants to do something, they want us to be active as they get into various things. This Comite ended up doing that.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What kinds of relationships did you have with the Native Americans at Wounded Knee?

Answer:
Good.

Question:
How did you build those?

Answer:
By the job we did, by bringing in the things they needed. Such as the medical supplies, gas, and so on. They weren't talkative. I don't know if it's a Native American trait or something, but they are not really that talkative. They don't establish a real friendly relationship with you. They didn't with us, but we got along ok. There was no conflict.







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by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado