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Spicer city attorney clarifies need for mediator

SPICER -- Spicer's city attorney clarified Wednesday that the City Council is hiring a mediator to resolve numerous concerns within the city government.

City Attorney Barry Darval said in a Wednesday phone interview that the pending mediation process will address various issues within Spicer City Hall.

"It was not the intention of the council to identify any individuals," Darval said. 'The council wants to try to deal with issues and problems that exist as a whole and for the benefit of the entire staff and council."

During Tuesday's special open meeting, the City Council passed a resolution to hire a mediator to resolve some recent city government matters. Darval said the city's two-member personnel committee will hire a mediator sometime after Oct. 1.

Darval said the mediation will address concerns about the city's personnel committee and its role in city personnel issues, how city personnel is supervised and what the process is for dealing with concerns within the city.

"I'm sure that within staff there are matters that are going to be personal to staff about interaction with other staff and council or committee," Darval said.

Darval said the mediation process should lead to improvement of the city government's efficiency and productivity.

"The purpose of hiring the mediator is to allow the city staff and council to meet in a confidential setting, work through issues that exist -- or may exist -- to help the city function better as a whole," Darval said.

Based on his past mediation experience, Darval said, it is difficult to resolve an issue before identifying "a complete picture" of the concerns. Darval will aid the mediation process, he said, by interviewing city staff, identifying concerns and providing his information to the mediator. Darval said he will complete his interviews with staff before Oct. 1.