Did CRS feel pressure from outside sources?

Silke Hansen

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Did CRS feel any additional pressure having an outside group involved?

I don't think so. One of the things I have learned as I'm responding to any conflict in a community is that it's never the entire community that's prepared to negotiate, that's prepared to sit at the table. So I have learned to go with those parties that are willing to participate and use that as at least a starting point. I made it very clear that any agreement would have to be limited to what these parties could agree to, and in fact when I do mediation training, that's always one of the things that I emphasize. As you bring parties to the table, make sure that everybody understands what kinds of commitments those parties at the table can make and whom they represent. Just because it's a Black organization for instance, or a Hispanic organization, or a Native American or Asian organization, does not mean that they represent that entire community. So make sure that it's clear at the beginning who they represent and for whom they can make commitments. In this case, it was a particular segment who represented particular organizations, and they could speak for those organizations. The fact that there might be others out there who were negotiating as well or who had other grievances, I did not see that as pressure.

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