Virginia's Judicial System

ACR Appoints David Hart as New CEO

The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) has announced the appointment of David A. Hart as the organization's new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Hart succeeds Daniel Bowling, the former CEO of ACR, who will assume a new position as Executive Director of Duke University Law School's Private Adjudication Center and teach conflict resolution and related courses at the law school.

David Hart brings extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution to his new role with ACR. He is the former director of the Americans with Disabilities Act Mediation Program, a national mediation program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and administered through the Key Bridge Foundation in Washington, DC. David has served as Executive Director of local, state, and national nonprofit organizations and has worked on a variety of projects for the United States Institute of Peace. He holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Oberlin College, a Master's Degree in Political Science from Syracuse University's Maxwell School, and has earned Certificates of Achievement from the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflict (PARC) and the Institute on Creative Conflict Management.

The announcement of the new CEO's appointment was made at the recent ACR Annual Conference held in October in Toronto. Nearly 1,500 people representing 15 countries attended the event and welcomed Mr. Hart to his new post. The event also included many special tributes and heartfelt expressions of gratitude to the outgoing CEO, Daniel Bowling.

Center Appoints Interim Director

Effective November 1, 2001, Fred Ickes assumed the reins of The Mediation Center at FOCUS in Charlottesville as its Interim Executive Director, replacing Carolyn Miller. Fred previously directed the Planning Division for the City of Lynchburg where he was a mediator for employee/supervisor disputes.

Having been a certified mediator for four years, he is especially interested in multi-party and community mediation cases. Fred has planned and facilitated numerous presentations and workshops and has served as a volunteer mediator for the Community Mediation Center in Harrisonburg and for Peaceful Alternatives Community Mediation Services in Monroe.

Having obtained a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a Master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fred expects to receive his Master of Public Administration degree in May from Viginia Tech, for which he is currently writing his thesis on community mediation. Fred is married, has three children, and enjoys hiking, bicycling and skiing. Congratulations to Fred and to the Center at FOCUS!

Community Mediation Study Commissioned

The Virginia Association for Community Conflict Resolution (VACCR) recently contracted with the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia to conduct a study of community mediation in Virginia. This study was funded by a grant from the National Association for Community Mediation and was undertaken in order to document the services, benefits and funding of programs in our nation and to identify services provided by Virginia's community mediation centers and funding options to sustain and strengthen them.

According to the Executive Summary published in the Study, the following represent in abbreviated form the key findings of this study:

  • Community mediation centers serve as the backbone of mediation services of all kinds. They have been the prime innovators in conflict resolution programs for communities, such as victim-offender, truancy, neighborhood, etc.
  • Community mediation will continue to grow as a compassionate and cost-effective approach to dealing with conflicts in communities.
  • Mediation programs are funded by states through a variety of means, including general appropriations, umbrella agencies, and programmatic spending..
  • Community mediation centers throughout the nation have become increasingly associated with the courts over the past twenty years. Most people gain access to mediation through the courts.
  • A strong desire exists to provide early intervention, pre-court, or non-court related conflict resolution services to stem the tide of cases flowing into the courts and address the many conflicts that do not involve the judicial system.
  • Active community mediation programs provide very real, measurable cost savings to communities.

The Study's Recommendations :

  • Virginia should further develop the capacities of community mediation centers to address disputes outside of the courts.
  • The state's centers should develop new, uniform "Standards of Practice".
  • Stable, long-term funding sources should be developed for early intervention and prevention programs in Virginia.
  • New community mediation programs should be started in underserved localities.
  • Legislative funding mechanisms from other states should be evaluated.
  • VACCR should be considered as an entity that could receive and disburse state funding.
  • Communities should be educated about the benefits of mediation and early intervention.
  • Key community individuals and groups should receive free or low-cost conflict management training.
  • Standardized methods should be developed to measure cost savings and non-monetary benefits provided to communities by mediation centers.

The study concludes that Virginia has the opportunity to serve as a national leader in the
community mediation field by funding early intervention and conflict prevention mediation.

This page last modified: October 18, 2002