Mediation Task Force

The Park Forest Mediation Task Force was formed in 1988 to help residents settle conflicts voluntarily by employing the techniques of mediation and conciliation. Trained by the U.S. Department of Justice, task force members have a unique assignment: to assist community members in working out conflicts through peaceful means, as a preferable alternative to litigation, disruption or other adversarial actions.

The task force responds at the request of Village officials, community representatives, or other interested individuals who may seek mediation. Through an initial telephone interview, the mediator (Staff Liaison) determines if the problem is suitable for mediation, the relevant issues, who the disputing parties are and other pertinent information.

Following this process, it’s sometimes possible to resolve the problem through informal conciliation. However, if the disputing parties determine that a formal mediation offers the best hope for a permanent settlement, the mediator arranges a formal mediation session at the earliest convenience of both parties. Whichever approach is made, the emphasis is on helping people find a way to resolve their own differences.

Members of the task force are bound by codes of neutrality and confidentiality. The task force has no law enforcement authority, will not represent either party in a court of law, and cannot impose a solution upon the disputing parties. To assure the entire mediation process is kept confidential, any notes taken during mediation are destroyed at the end of each session. Likewise, disputing parties are asked to treat the mediation discussions as strictly confidential. The only document generated by this process is a written agreement between the disputing parties to terms that they themselves have determined.

For more information on the Park Forest Mediation Task Force, or for actual assistance, contact the Village of Park Forest’s Community Relations Coordinator, Evelyn Sterling-Randle at 708.283.5621, Monday‐Friday from 9am-5pm. For evening or weekend assistance, contact the Park Forest Police Department at 708.748.4700. 

10 Keys to Mediation Etiquette

1. We agree to take turns speaking and to try to not interrupt each other.

2. We agree to call each other by our first names, not "he" or "she" or worse.

3. We will ask questions of each other for the purposes of gaining clarity and understanding, not assuming based off what some else stated and not as attacks.

4. We agree to try to avoid establishing hard positions and express ourselves in terms of our needs and desires and the outcomes that we wish to create.

5. We agree to listen respectfully and sincerely try to understand the other's needs and interests.

6. We recognize that, even if we do not agree with it, each of us is entitled to our own perspective.

7. We will seek to avoid dwelling on things that did not work in the past, and instead focus on the future we want to create.

8. We agree to make a conscious, sincere effort to refrain from unproductive arguing, venting, and narration and agree to use our time in mediation to work toward what we perceive to be our most constructive agreement possible.

9. We will speak up if something is not working for us in the mediation.

10. While in mediation, we will refrain from furthering adversarial legal proceedings, except in the case of an emergency necessitating such action.