Virginia's Judicial System

Featuring . . . Community Mediation Center

During 1982, the Community Mediation Center (CMC) in Harrisonburg was organized as the first community-based mediation program in Virginia. The establishment of CMC was made possible with the vision and leadership of people now well known in the mediation field such as Larry Hoover, Kathryn Fairfield and Dick Wettstone. The Center is now embarking on a new chapter in its development as a successful non-profit conflict resolution and training center with the hiring in December 1999 of Suzanne Daughety as the Executive Director.

Suzanne has a master's degree in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from George Mason University. She brings administrative, public relations and financial management experience from both non-profit and for-profit work settings. She hopes to build on the strong programs and financial stability achieved by the previous director, Kathe Smith, who is now employed in the Human Resources Department at Banta Book Group. As many of you know, Kathe has successfully completed treatment for breast cancer, and she expects to remain active in the work of the Center and the mediation field.

As is typical of community mediation centers, the first CMC cases involved general disputes between neighbors, friends, and roommates, as well as landlord-tenant, business-consumer, and business-business conflicts. In the early years, it became apparent there was a demand for family mediation services so training was obtained and services offered to separating and divorcing couples. Mediation for other types of family disputes such as parent-teen, elder care, and couples reconciliation is now also provided. A later service has been group mediation and facilitation to businesses, organizations, and communities, as well as partnering workshops to construction projects and organizations undergoing change.

An early service and source of revenue for the Center was a training program that not only trained mediators for working with the Center, but trained people from all over the state and region who were seeking general or family mediation training. In 1985, the Center offered the first peer mediation training for local school administrators, teachers and students. In the last decade, the training program has expanded to not only include specialized and advanced training for mediators, but communication and conflict resolution training for people to use in the workplace or their personal lives. In addition, the Center is under contract to teach classes at James Madison University.

The staff of the Center has expanded to five positions plus the frequent use of college interns for case management services. Eddie Bumbaugh is the Assistant Director, Tim Ruebke the Director of Mediation Services, Wendy Ringgold the Administrative Assistant, and a Case Management position is shared by Shannon Sneary and Paula Homes. In addition, approximately 70 mediators provide services through the Center on a volunteer or paid basis. Many mediators come from other areas of the state to receive their mentoring toward certification with the Supreme Court.

Although the Center began with services focused on the Rockingham County area, it has always attracted clients from a broader region. During 1997, when the Augusta Center for Mediation made the decision to close, CMC expanded its primary service base to include Augusta County as well. In 1999, the Center conducted in excess of 600 mediations. Approximately 75% were family conflicts, 15% general disputes, and 10% organizational/public policy cases.

The new Director in collaboration with the Board of Directors and other staff will be looking toward the future over the next several months as an updated strategic plan is being developed. There are a number of opportunities that may be pursued in the services area such as restorative justice and circuit court level cases, and in the training area such as couples conflict resolution skills and specialized workshops for people in the workplace. At the same time, the commitment continues to maintain quality case management and mediation services to court-referred and community clients regardless of their ability to pay. The Center recognizes this is an exciting time in the mediation field with many new opportunities opening up as the people of Virginia continue to grow in their awareness of and support for mediation.

Contributed by Eddie Bumbaugh, Certified Mediator, Certified Trainer, and Assistant Director of Community Mediation Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia


Coalition of Community Mediation Centers:

Community Mediation Center
36 Southgate Court, Suite 102
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Suzanne Daughety, Director

Community Mediation Center of Danville and Pittsylvania County
2601 North Main Street
Danville, VA 24540
Bob Phillips, Director

Conflict Resolution Center
P.O. Box 1185
Roanoke, VA 24006
Christine Poulson, Director

The Dispute Resolution Center
701 East Franklin Street, Suite 712
Richmond, VA 23219
Beckie Riffe, Director

Dispute Settlement Center
586 Virginian Drive
Norfolk, VA 23505
Robert Glover, Director

The Mediation Center at FOCUS
1508 Grady Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Carolyn Miller, Director

Northern Virginia Mediation Service- George Mason University
4260 Chain Bridge Road, Suite A2
Fairfax, VA 22030
Rob Scott, Director

Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center
P. O. Box 809
Warrenton, VA 20188
Lawrie Parker, Director

The Rappahannock Mediation Center
910 Princess Anne Street, Third Floor
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Arlene Dunn, Director


This page last modified: March 23, 2000