Sunday, March 16, 2008

A process to reach agreement on joint maintenance

Following up on the issue and need to reach an agreement raised earlier, I have the following as a process to achieve this. There are other ways but we just need to execute on one that will allow the key stake holders a say in the process.

Using the talking stick concept, the stake holders should come together in a circle.

  • Town Council
  • School Committee
  • School Administration
  • Dept of Public Works
  • Town Administration
  • parents
  • principals
  • custodians
  • tax payers
  • are any left out?
Sitting in a circle with two representatives from each group. Representatives can not sit next to another of their own group.

Several white boards or flip charts to record the key points

Volunteers solicited to assist in the recording of the key points

First round records all the objectives, or goals, or constraints of each group that they feel need to be part of the ultimate agreement. Let's get all the issues on the table.

For example:
  • cost savings
  • principals control people working within their school
  • education reform act requirements
  • labor contracts
  • etc.
Second Round prioritizes the goals, objectives, constraints as outlined in Round One

Third Round entertains proposals from each stake holder group on how they would meet the overall goals as outlined in Round One and prioritized in Round Two

Fourth Round works to build consensus on the proposals from Round Three

There should be a break between the second and third rounds to provide time for the individual stake holder groups to prepare their proposals

There may need to be more than four rounds but that will depend upon the openness of the discussion and how well the group is able to come to a consensus

It may be required to review the current maintenance agreement which the town believes is working and at least from the point of view as expressed by one custodian, clearly isn't. We will need to address any and all issues with this process. We need a working process, not a broken process. If the current process has some flaws, let's address them, agree to fix them and then agree to move on. If we don't fix them, we will not be able to make significant progress on a new process for the custodians.

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