The statutory dispute settlement procedures provide for the intervention of professional neutrals to assist the parties at several points in the process. Many mutually agreed alternate dispute settlement procedures (MADs) also provide for the intervention of neutrals. SERB appoints neutrals to assist the parties as needed under the timelines of the statutory procedures, and sometimes at the request of parties negotiating under MADs.
Mediators are made available at no cost by SERB. Fact-finders, conciliators, and grievance arbitrators are private contractors who are engaged by the parties. In statutory appointments, SERB does not pay any of the cost of fact-finding, conciliation, grievance arbitration, or appointments made under MADs.
To make available a Board-approved body of neutrals, SERB maintains a roster of neutrals, a listing of professional neutrals who are eligible for assignment as fact-finders and conciliators under the statutory dispute settlement procedures, and grievance arbitrators under contract grievance procedures. Currently, there are approximately 100 roster members. Many are attorneys; others are professors; and some are full-time arbitrators.
The Bureau of Mediation receives inquiries from individuals wishing to be considered for membership on the roster, and sends an application form to candidates. Upon receipt of a completed application form and the required writing samples, the Bureau of Mediation sends a questionnaire to the five references of the candidate. When all information is received, the Bureau of Mediation develops a summary and a recommendation regarding the application for the Board, who then vote on the question of approval of each roster candidate. Approved candidates are required to attend a training program on statutory procedures and local government finance.
All roster members are required to maintain a business address in the State of Ohio, although not all are required to be full-time residents of the state. All roster members may serve as fact-finders, but only those who are Ohio residents may serve as conciliators and grievance arbitrators. Every other year, SERB conducts a mandatory training program for roster members.
The Bureau of Mediation reviews concerns raised by the parties regarding a roster member’s performance. Failure to meet the roster standards on a continuous basis is justification for suspension or removal of roster membership.
SERB offers a Grievance Arbitration Panel Service. The service is available to public employers and employee organizations under the jurisdiction of SERB. SERB’s referral service is free. Individuals are not charged a fee to be a member of the arbitration panel. Parties are not charged for requesting a panel. Requests for panels must be made by mutual agreement unless the parties have a written agreement providing that one party may make arbitration requests to SERB. SERB will initiate a listing of seven names for the parties’ consideration. SERB will not make appointments or provide other services in grievance arbitration matters. Grievance arbitrators may charge their normal fees for their services. Any and all charges, including cancellation fees, are listed on the biographical profile of the arbitrator. Questions or disputes regarding grievance arbitration awards or invoices are the responsibility of the parties and the arbitrator. The arbitrator is responsible for scheduling hearings, issuing subpoenas, and receiving pre-hearing or post-hearing submissions. Parties are encouraged to make
email requests for panels. SERB will respond by e-mail to provide the list of names.
For further information, contact the Bureau of Mediation at (614) 644-8716.