One of my biggest challenges in my previous role was building a consensus among 26 stakeholders often with opposing agendas. I perfected my ability to facilitate a consensus among diverse groups over the four years I was in this position. This piqued my interest in mediation and dispute resolution and lead to my application to the BC government for the position of Registrar of the Public Service Appeal Board.
The Public Service Appeal Board was a quasi-judicial tribunal which is a non-judicial body which could interpret law. It was an administrative agency that had powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law or judge, and was obligated to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the basis of an official action. The Board was establish to hear appeals of job-competitions in the BC government. As the Registrar (General Manager), I directed staff and resources to play a significant role in providing a wide range of administrative and technical support to the Tribunal including the resolution disputes in an emotionally charged environment
When I arrived there was not a dispute resolution process and all appeals were sent to the Board for adjudication. This was often a costly and time-consuming process especially when during the hearing the facts clearly made the outcome obvious to both parties. So in 1998 I introduced an Early Dispute Resolution process where we got the parties together to discuss the facts of the case and where I was often able to facilitate an agreement to resolve the appeal. Over a few years of adapting to the needs of the environment and applying theoretical and practical dispute resolution techniques I was able to perfect the dispute resolution process to a point where only 20% of appeals filed in 2001 required a hearing.
In another area - technology; I was able to merge my knowledge of Administrative Law and Technology to make the Public Service Appeal Board the first Administrative Tribunal in British Columbia to offer online filing of appeals and video-conferencing hearings. I also replaced the manual administrative appeal process with a LAN-based Appeal Management System and established an online database and integrated website to provide clients with real time appeal inquiries. This completed the process of bringing the Appeal Process into the 21st century.