Maintain interaction with the public throughout this extended collaborative process to assure that it is addressing the issues that the community is grappling with.
Community leaders, working with the intervenor, should develop a communications strategy for the period in which the collaborative process is underway. Such a strategy should have the components of the communications strategy during the de-escalation phase but also might include broader education of the community.
AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE
- Susan L. Carpenter & W.J.D. Kennedy, Managing Public Disputes: A Practical Guide for Government, Business, and Citizens’ Groups (2001).
- Set up the process so that the intervenor can conduct some conversations in private but, at the same time, ensure that there also are communications about progress with the public and some sessions open to the public.
- Engage the broader community in educational efforts that will aid implementation of the plan. The Missouri Bar Association project described below illustrates that approach.
- Monitor media, including social media, and correct inaccurate rumors.
Following a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the Missouri Bar Association developed a public education program about the legal issues implicated by the incident. Missouri Bar President Reuben Shelton explained, “We have a website with podcasts to help educate the public on the process surrounding the issue. . . . We have a mini law school for community members who come out once a month and pay for the class to learn about the legal issues of the day. . . .We have a civic role to make sure the community is educated about the law, about how it works, and to dispel some myths about the law and the legal profession. . . . Our major concern is to make sure that the rule of law is maintained from beginning to end.”
“In Toledo, Ohio former Mayor Mike Bell hired three or four young adults from the community as paid interns and administrative assistants in his administration. In addition to their administrative and intern assignments these young adults kept the Mayor informed on the issues and concerns of the youth and young adults in the communities. They were able to talk to the Mayor about what was going on in their respective communities and he in turn could send them out into the community to assist him in addressing these issues and concerns.”
– Derrick Diggs, Former Police Chief, Toledo, Ohio