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Institute for Local Government Releases New Publication: A Local Official’s Guide to Intergovernmental Conflict Resolution

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The Institute for Local Government has published A Local Official’s Guide to Intergovernmental Conflict Resolution. The publication helps local agencies resolve the problems and challenges that emerge when they find themselves in a dispute with one another. It was published thanks to the generous support of McDonough Holland & Allen PC and the JAMS Foundation.

This Guide contains information on the causes and consequences of inter-agency disputes; discusses different conflict resolution strategies to address these differences; and offers guidance on finding and selecting a conflict resolution provider.

There is also a discussion of when public officials should consider a conflict resolution approach. The advice is to not wait until positions have hardened, unfortunate statements have been made, or the public has begun to take sides. Rather, think about a conflict resolution option when:

  • State law or some other regulation requires two (or more) local agencies to work together, and disagreements are beginning to emerge.
  • One or more of the agencies says “We’ve been here before and we didn’t work it out very well then, so let’s try something different.”
  • Agencies disagree on public policy, and one or more are considering using “legal technicalities” to settle a public policy dispute.
  • You find yourself saying, “They just don’t understand what I’ve said.” Or, “I wish they would tell us what they really mean.”
  • Differences are threatening to cause gridlock.

This resource is available without charge in electronic form at www.ca-ilg.org/intergovtconflictresolution. Hardcopies are also available for a small charge. Proceeds from all publications sales support the Institute’s work in service to local officials.

This publication is the product of the Intergovernmental Conflict Resolution Program (www.ca-ilg.org/mediate). Also available on the Institute’s website is information about situations in which local agencies have used alternative dispute resolution to resolve interagency disputes, as well as information about the conflict assessment services the Institute offers. The site also includes a link to the Munilink database which offers local agencies information on professionals available to provide alternative dispute resolution services.

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