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Resolving Public Disputes Workshops I-III

Workshop I: Conflict Assessment and Negotiation Skills

In this workshop, participants will improve their one-on-one and small group negotiations and conflict management skills through brief lectures, discussion, individual exercises, and small group role-play.

Workshop II: Collaboration and Tools for Handling Contentious Stakeholder Groups

This two-day workshop examines the conditions for effective collaboration. Attendees practice meeting facilitation and apply negotiation skills to managing committees, stakeholder groups and task forces more effectively. The program includes an exercise of a simulated interagency collaboration.

Workshop III: Managing High Emotion and Contention in Public Hearings

In this workshop participants will focus on preparing for and handling highly contentious issues and angry, disruptive behavior in public hearings.  They will learn techniques for responding to strong criticism or attacks, practice skills in simulated situations of angry and “irrational” people in public meetings, and analyze examples of mediation and facilitation of contentious public issues. 

Participants can take any of the three workshops; there are no prerequisites. For more information, click on the links above.

There are currently no scheduled dates for the three workshops. For information on offering these workshops at your choice of location to members of your jurisdiction or partnering with surrounding jurisdictions, please contact John Stephens at or 919.962.5190.

Who Should Attend

The workshops are designed primarily for:

  • City and county managers
  • School district superintendents and administrators
  • State government agency leaders: top department officials, division and section directors
  • Local government department directors
  • Regional planning and intergovernmental units, such as council of government directors and program managers
  • Non-profit service providers under government contract
  • Public Works and Utilities Professionals involved in Environmental and Utility Disputes
  • Professional engineers and licensed surveyors
  • Leaders of neighborhood groups and civic organizations
  • Community and court mediators and internal facilitators seeking public dispute understanding and practice
  • Others involved in public disputes (e.g. public information officers)

Who has Attended

[A partial list]

City/County managers and assistant managers:

Towns, cities, villages: Clemmons, High Point, Hillsborough, Jamestown, Sawmills, Wendell, Whiteville, Woodfin
Counties: Forsyth County
County commissioner: Harnett County

Elected officials:

Mayor, Village of Clemmons


Superitendents from Onslow and Person Counties

           Principal, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools

Health Department:

Stokes and Person County Health Directors

Mental Health:

Rutherford-Polk Area MH/DD/SA

Planning and Zoning:

  • Planning Directors: Cities of High Point, Jacksonville, Roxboro, Vance County, Durham City-County, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, Centralina COG
  • Regional Planner, Land of Sky Regional Council
  • Zoning Administrator: Buncombe County
  • Planning and Inspections: City of Eden, Village of Clemmons


  • Fiscal Analyst, NC General Assembly
  • Utilities Manager, Old North Utility Services
  • Assitant HR Director, Iredell County
  • Public Information Officer, Town of Stallings
  • Sr. Environmental Resource Manager, Duke Energy
  • Project Manager, Charlotte Storm Water Services
  • Director, City of Raleigh Community Development
  • Associate Director, Town of Cary
  • Project Planner, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
  • Public Service Director, Town of Morresville