Why Use Mediation, Facilitated Discussions, or Alternative Dispute Resolution Services?

  • Save Money
  • Resolve Work-Related Disputes Quicker
  • Identify the Root of the Problem

The average Bay Area cost for a private mediator for a 4-hour session is over $5,000. The EEOC estimates that it costs $150,000+ to process an EEO complaint from the counseling stage through an EEOC hearing. The SFFEB’s Shared Neutrals Program (SNP) has shown cost savings in excess of $2M for agencies. This Shared Neutrals Program which offers a cadre of trained mediators from different Federal agencies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area who can provide agencies with Mediation or Facilitated Discussion services at no cost.* Experienced and in-training SNP Mediators are available to conduct mediation sessions or facilitated discussions regarding most types of work-related disputes and are not limited to disputes in the EEO arena.

Agencies have been able to resolve many of their work-related disputes at a lowest level, increase good will between management and staff, and resolve issues before they become formal complaints. When a neutral third party conducts the mediation, management can learn what the root causes of the dispute because the staff feels more comfortable to share their experience. Many agencies have learned a great deal about their processes this way and change business practices that increase efficiency and nearly eliminates staff complaints.

* Agencies are responsible for any travel expenses

Contact the Shared Neutrals Program Council Chair, Rufus Arther at 415-744-3803 or at rufus.arther@cms.hhs.gov for more information. If unavailable, please contact the SFFEB at 415-625-7723 or ContactSFFEB@dol.gov.

Support your management team

  • Ask the SFFEB to present information about the program to your management team
  • Remind your management team of your support for the mediation process and the importance of resolving workplace disputes at the lowest level possible
  • Educate your agency on the mediation process and referring them to this program and related website information
  • Let your EEO and HR staff know about the FEB Shared Neutrals Program
  • Provide FEB Mediators in your agency with a flexible schedule to allow their participation and developing their expertise through SFFEB or other mediation training
  • Nominate employees from your agency when the FEB recruits new mediators

Frequently Asked Questions about the Shared Neutrals Program

How does the Shared Neutrals Program work?
First, an agency seeking to use the SNP mediator completes a Request for Mediation form and submits it to rufus.arther@cms.hhs.gov. The SNP Program Coordinator reviews the request for appropriateness for SNP, assigns a Mediator and works with the Agency SNP Coordinator to schedule the mediation. The Mediator(s) contacts the parties to provide basic information about what to expect in a mediation session and to schedule the session.

What costs are there to the Agency requesting the mediation?
The Agency bears no cost for the mediation, but is responsible for any travel the mediator must do to reach the location where the mediation will be held if the mediation is in person.

Who does the Agency contact for more information?

Contact the Shared Neutrals Council Chair, Rufus Arther at 415-744-3803 at rufus.arther@cms.hhs.gov for more information. If unavailable, please contact the SFFEB at 415-625-7723 or ContactSFFEB@dol.gov.

How does someone become a Shared Neutrals Program (SNP) Mediator?
SNP Mediators are required to attend training, observe senior mediators, and be observed prior to being made into a Mediator for our program. Contact us for further information. We to offer at least one 40 hour training provided by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service every year.


Shared Neutrals Program business cards are available NOW for your managers, Human Resources contacts, EEO contacts, etc. Contact us with quantity and address, and we’ll mail them to you.

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