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Archiver > USGW-GC > 2006-02 > 1139081788

From: "Scott Burow" <>
Subject: Re: [USGW-GPC] Procedures
Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 13:36:31 -0600
References: <04ce01c6200f$e7bfc1e0$3a281b41@D51XKD11> <> <010201c6294a$688abf80$7301a8c0@scott> <>

Good questions, and I'll do my best to reply from my point of view.

> You say: "Upon receipt by the Grievance Committee, both parties are bound
> by any agreement reached in the grievance process, or if no agreement can
> be reached, by the final decision of the grievance/arbitration team when
> approved by the Grievance Committee." Suppose one party to the grievance
> [presumably the defendant] refuses to participate? How can you bind a
> party to some future outcome just based on receipt of the grievance?

Probably 'receipt' is not the correct word to use here, but perhaps those of
you less linguisticly challenged than I can come up with a better one. The
intent is that the outcome of this process is binding on all parties. We
need to look at the big picture and realize what happens to this process in
the future. Once completed it will be presented for approval by the elected
officials of this project. If approved, these procedures become policy.
Binding mediation/arbitration becomes the official policy of the project.
We're all bound by the official policy of the project.

As far as a person refusing to participate, the process covers that. Move
such a situation through the process. Mediation obviously fails since there
is only one party involved, thus it moves to arbitration. Per the

"The decision of the arbitration team will be based on the information and
evidence submitted, and failure of one party to participate in the
arbitration process will result in the decision being made against the
non-participating party in accordance with the information presented."

If one party refuses to participate, the information will be from only one
side of the complaint. If that's all that is presented, and a violation of
the by-law, policy, or procedure cited is proven by the information, the
outcome of the arbitrators will be in accordance with the information
presented. Simply put ... the one who participates will win. In Court,
it's called a default judgment.

> Qualifications section
> You say: 'Volunteers must have a minimum of one year's continuous service
> as a Member in Good Standing of either a State Project or a recognized
> Special Project of the USGenWeb Project." This wording will get you into
> trouble. Those of us who are MNIGS are only MNIGS at the national level.
> I am not only in good standing in my state project, my SCs love me. The
> wording should be clarified to specify that the designation comes from the
> national level.

So noted, and you're correct about that. It should be phrased "a member in
good standing of the USGenWeb Project.

> Committee membership section:
> You say the committee will have seven members, but you list only six. Is
> the seventh open to anyone?

Yes, it would be open to anyone other than an AB member. As the AB is the
avenue of appeal from the GC, it would be a conflict of interest to have an
AB member as a participant in the proceedings. This is the reason that the
NC, as an ex-officio member of the GC, being barred from activity with any
specific grievance before the committee, and why a committee member, if
elected to the AB during his/her term, must resign from the committee.

> Committee business section:
> You use the term "billet announcement" in this section and nowhere else.
> It should be defined. Or better yet, changed to something else. The word
> "billet" refers to assignment of quarters to military personnel.

The wording was from the original proposal and I believe that it refers to
specific assignments to a particular grievance. A billet assignment would
be that "XX is assigned as Committee Member, XX as mediator, and XX and XX
as arbitrators to grievance 06-01." I doubt there would be any objection to
changing 'billet assignment' to 'case assignment', 'grievance assignment' or
something of that nature.

> Grievance Process section:
> You say: "Grievances against the local grievance project of a State or
> Special Project which has its own member-approved process for resolving
> grievances." Huh? I am not at all sure what you are trying to say here.
> Is this the part where, for projects that have local processes, you will
> only hear a grievance if it alleges that those processes were violated?
> If so, rewording will make this clearer.

Yes, if a local process exists, the GC will not re-hear that grievance, only
review it to determine whether the local process was followed. The
paragraph below that should be indented as 5(a) and is meant to be an
explanation of the limitation. Again, if those less linguistically
challenged than I can phrase it better ... please do so.

> "member-approved" is an iffy statement. An SC could slap together
> something, post it, and say its the state rules, without ever having the
> members approve it. How would you know? Will the GC just accept these on
> face value, or will there be some looking into state guidelines to see
> whether they fit the criterion of being "member-approved"? If not, just
> drop the term.

"Member approved" means to me that procedures were adopted by a vote of the
membership in that state or project at some time in the past. When we were
writing our ILGenWeb procedures for grievances, we reviewed the existing
processes in projects that had them. I can't think of one which was not
labeled as being "Adopted by the membership on (date)". Perhaps I'm
assuming that this was done by vote of the members, but that was my
impression. By including the phrase we're intending to prevent the
situation that you describe.

> Overall comment on procedures: Did I miss it, or has the usual process of
> allowing the parties to a grievance to have advisors assist them been
> dropped?

No, it's not there, but it hasn't been dropped either, it's just not
included. This is one of the issues needing discussion from folks more
knowledgeable than I.

My experience with mediation and arbitration all revolves around the legal
system, but there are far more types of mediation and arbitration out there.
In my experience, a representative (in my case, a lawyer) is not directly
involved in a mediation. That's directly between the parties in a
controlled setting to try to resolve some of the issues before it reaches
the Courtroom. What can be agreed upon is then sent to the representatives
so that they know what is and is not resolved. The arbitration (again, in
my case a hearing before the judge who rules on the case) is where the
representatives become involved, and the goal there is to resolve the
outstanding issues that were not resolved at the mediation stage. (Of
course, the representatives know this is the case, and advise the
participants what to accept and what not to accept in the mediation process,
so we can't say they're really not involved.)

I do not know where the representative should be included in this type of
process, so it's not in there at all, but on my list of things to ask about.


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