Expert Advice

 

Edward Howden

Former CRS Mediator, San Francisco Office


[Full Interview]

Question: How did you identify the community resources that would help you resolve your conflict?

Answer: Well, we used the hydrologist from the state university in that one case, and in that other case, involving the county welfare department, outside assistance was very vital there. We needed clarification about the exact meaning of complex statutes, and federal and state regulations regarding welfare aid to dependent children and a whole lot of other stuff. Here again, most of us, certainly myself, and I think most of the community people, were not experts on any of that. So it was agreed in advance that we would get two experts up from Sacramento to help us. They were from the State Department of Social Welfare, and each had his or her area of expertise with respect to the statutes and regulations, and that was agreed to by all sides in advance. They participated in the sessions, so they were there and could answer if any questions arose as to what the regulation was.

Question: So they were there to give factual information?

Answer: Correct, technical and factual, not to do anything else, and they didn't try to do anything else.

Question: Were the experts from the welfare department seen as being on one side or the other?

Answer: No, I don't think so, because we had agreement in advance that said we needed some people who would call the shots as they were and who were not themselves involved or seen as involved with the county welfare department.