CORE PLUS is an integrated conflict management system (ICMS) and is broader than an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. The implementation of CORE PLUS is the shared responsibility of all DOI employees. The operation of CORE PLUS crosses bureau and office boundaries and involves a coordinated effort across functional areas, including human capital, human resources, civil rights, collaborative action and dispute resolution, training centers and attorneys.
CORE PLUS is established under the authority of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (ADRA), (P.L. 104-320; 5 U.S.C. §§571 – 584) which tasked each Federal agency to “adopt a policy that addresses the use of alternative means of dispute resolution and case management.”
CORE PLUS is established in the Departmental Manual (DM) at 370 DM 770. This DM chapter applies to all bureaus and offices. The Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution (CADR) (established at 112 DM 21) is responsible for overseeing implementation of CORE PLUS . The CADR Office works in close coordination with the Directors of the Department’s Office of Human Resources and Office of Civil Rights and the Office of the Solicitor to ensure that all CORE PLUS policies and guidance are clear and consistent with all relevant laws, regulations and Departmental policies. CADR provides leadership in partnership with the Senior Counsel for CADR and the designated Bureau Dispute Resolution Specialists.
CORE PLUS Objectives
The goal of CORE PLUS is for the DOI to fulfill its commitment to institute an integrated conflict management system that creates an environment throughout the organization ripe for raising all kinds of concerns, listening and being heard respectfully, and working collaboratively to solve problems effectively. An integrated conflict management system helps to develop a workplace where issues and concerns can be raised at the appropriate level, with confidence that they will be respectfully heard and responsibly dealt with, and creates a system for raising and resolving concerns that is fair, friendly, and flexible.
CORE PLUS is designed to develop and integrate conflict management competencies into the culture of the Department. CORE PLUS offers structures, skills and processes to support early and effective conflict management and enhanced communications, thereby leading to a more productive and efficient workplace and one that embraces collaborative approaches to problem solving and open and transparent decision making.
The following conflict management principles and safeguards are integral to CORE PLUS and are included in CORE PLUS as established at 370 DM 770:
- Participation is voluntary for employees;
- Management must send a representative to participate in good faith when an employee elects to pursue a conflict resolution or ADR process except in the formal stage of Administrative Grievance Procedures;
- Options and choices to fit the situation;
- Self Determination by Parties;
- Representation when Requested;
- Settlement Authority;
- Good Faith Participation;
- Use of Official Time;
- Impartiality and Credibility of Assistance.
CORE PLUS Services
- Confidential Consultation: one-on-one meeting or discussion with an impartial neutral party);
- Individual Conflict Coaching: individualized method for helping one person develop skills and strategies to constructively manage interpersonal conflicts;
- Communication and Conflict Management Training: topics such as conflict management skills, cultural competency and interest based negotiation;
- Climate Assessment: engagement of an impartial practitioner to conduct confidential interviews, written surveys or focus groups to assist management gain a clearer understanding of a situation and determine any steps or processes that could help resolve and improve the situation;
- Group Facilitation: facilitator assists to improve the flow of information between parties or helps a group move through a problem-solving process to reach group decisions, achieve stated goals, or to resolve or improve a situation;
- Team-building: strengthen the cohesiveness and trust within the team;
- Mediation: involves a mediator who has no decision-making authority assist the parties in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the issues in dispute;
- Conciliation: impartial third party who assists the parties to address tensions or hurt feelings, resolve issues of concern and improve communications, clarify misunderstanding and build a more positive working relationship.
CORE PLUS Does Not:
(1) Replace any legal or administrative avenues of redress available to employees
or provide any extension of time frames in which to seek redress under any formal administrative processes unless otherwise provided for within a specific administrative process (e.g., Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process, or Administrative Grievance Procedures); or
(2) Delay any pending disciplinary action unless management decides or concurs
that the action can be held in abeyance based on the particular circumstances of the case.
Why contact CORE PLUS ?
CORE PLUS offers education and training, conflict management tools and dispute resolution assistance to improve communication, cooperative problem solving and team work. CORE PLUS can help you manage change, strengthen teams and partnerships and improve communication and performance. You can discuss your concerns confidentially.
If I contact CORE PLUS can I still file a complaint?
CORE PLUS does not replace any other complaint process available to DOI employees such as a grievance, EEO complaint or whistle-blower complaint. Anyone seeking CORE PLUS assistance will be encouraged to learn about all of their options and will be referred to the appropriate point of contact for reliable information on other processes.
When is CORE PLUS available?
There are no time limits or formal requirements for seeking assistance through CORE PLUS. However, contacting CORE PLUS does not change the filing requirements and deadlines for complaint processes.
Who do I contact for CORE PLUS assistance or if I have questions?
Contact Cris Stemler-Ross, EEO Counselor, at (503) 231-2081 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.