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The history of dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration

FMCS Mediator Interns and Other Untypical Hires

Traditional FMCS used its own hiring process separate from the Civil Service process that other Federal Agencies used, thus allowing FMCS to manage mediator hiring so as to fit the unique skill set required. For many years, new mediators were hired in groups based on minimum of seven years of labor-management experience at the GS-12 level.

Another more informal and less used practice existed in which less experienced individuals were hired who were viewed as having the potential to develop into a good mediator after an intern period of growth.

The following individuals were hired as interns or hired below the usual entry grade of GS12. They each would have their own unique hiring and training experience.

1. Herb Haber 195017. Nick Fidandis 196633. Lynda Myers 1994
2. David Tanzman 195018. Hal Davis 196834. Lynda Gonzalez 1994
3. Charlie Harding 195019. Jerry Ross 196835. Andrea Strimling 1996
4. Charlie Rehmus 195320. Ed Passman 1968
5. Paul Yager 195321. Nancy Fibish 1968
6. Jack Winter 195322. Bill Carr 1970
7. Ralph Fenton 195323. Jack George 1971
8. Ken Moffett 196124. Mike Nowakowski 1972
9. Tom Colosi 196225. D. Scot Blake 1972
10. Bob Callaway 196226. Gerry Gomez 1973
11. Jack Donlan 196327. Malcom Maples 1973
12. Ken Evans 196428. Ira Lobel 1974
13. Jerry Barrett 196429. Joel Roskow 1976
14. Bob Householder 196530. Pam Gentry (DeSimone) 1977
15. Bill Hobgood 196531. Ed Hartfield 1980
16. George Vogl 196632. Peter Swanson 1991

No further information was available from FMCS.

My intern experience in the National Office in 1964 was so unplanned and left to my own imitative that I was able to spend hours in Old Department of Labor Library[1] where I learned about the USCS and the early history of FMCS. When I was transferred to Milwaukee, I carried a box of history material that I had copied in the DOL Library. That boxful became the beginning of my collection now at George Washington University covering 136 shelve feet.

After five years in Milwaukee, I left FMCS to head an office in DOL for three years where my boss reported to Bill Usery. I did several things that got Bill’s attention, which I wrote about elsewhere. When Bill was appointed FMCS Director, he asked me to return to FMCS to head a new office of Technical Services. After he described the functions of the new office, he asked me if I had one thing I would like to accomplish at FMCS. I told Bill I would like to develop an intern program that would recruit, hire and train younger, minorities and female mediators.

Usery, always fond of new ideas, agreed. The result of that agreement was:

Two mediator intern classes in 1975.

First Class: January 1975[2]

1st Row: George Buckingham (Became National Deputy Director), Bonnie Castrey (Left to became an arbitrator),

Ernie Bremer (not in photo)

2nd Row: Jim Schepker (Became a Manager in Chicago RO), Julie Greer (started mediation program for school kids),

John Knight (Served in numerous field offices), John Healy (Died young)

Second Class: July 1975[3]

1st Row: Eileen Hoffman (Became General Counsel and other N.O positions),  Bob Stiener (Served in several field and NO positions)

2nd Row: Jerry McKay (Left to become an arbitrator), John Steppe (Became Deputy Assistant Secretary in DOL),

 Chris Merchant (Wrote a book, became a professor)

3rd Row: Lois Vanderwaerdt (resigned), Mike Nowakowski (Long service in Detroit), Ron Sweet (Served in Milwaukee),

Doug Hammond (Manager in Seattle RO)

The case can be made that hiring five women mediator interns in 1975 opened the door for more women to join FMCS. Here is what happened:

Twenty-one years after its creation in 1947, FMCS hired the first women mediator in 1968. Ten women mediators were hired at normal entry level between 1975 and 1977. In the 1980s, twelve more women were hired, and in the 1990s, twenty-one more were hired.

By 2016, four of the ten FMCS Regional Offices were headed by a woman, the General Counsel and the Director were both women. In that year, twenty-eight percent of the 165 FMCS mediator staff were women.

In 2022 both Regional Directors (Beth Schindler and Carolyn Brommer), and three of the eight District Directors Linda Gonzalez, Jennifer Disotell, and Barbara Rumph) are female.

[1] At the time, the FMCS National Office was in the old DOL at 14th and Constitution NW.

[2] Oral history interviews recorded of George Buckingham, Bonnie Castrey, and John Knight by Jerry Barrett.

[3] Oral history interviews recorded of Eileen Hoffman, Chris Merchant, Bob Stiencer and John Stepp by Jerry Barrett.

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