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Need help navigating a public policy issue? Would you benefit from training in negotiation skills?
Contact Mark E. Rubin, J.D., to get started.
The mission of the Virginia Center for Consensus Building is to assist public and private stakeholders to arrive at consensus solutions of state, regional and local public policy problems. VCCB provides public policy mediation services as well as skills training in negotiation and mediation. We strive to provide stakeholders with the tools to create quicker, better and less expensive solutions to public policy disputes.
Public policy mediation
The VCCB utilizes a facilitative mediation style and consensus-based problem-solving techniques in its mediation work. The mediator creates a space where stakeholders can listen and talk to each other productively, with the goal of creating solutions that meet as many of the interests of the stakeholders as possible. The mediator also poses reality-testing questions to assist the stakeholders in fashioning a solution that will survive any required legislative or regulatory implementation.
Skills training in negotiation and mediation
Training in negotiation and mediation skills focuses on how to function productively in the public policy arena. We employ role-playing exercises based on actual legislative and regulatory issues to demonstrate key points and give participants practical hands-on experience in negotiation and mediation.
About the executive director
As executive director of the VCCB, Mark E. Rubin, J.D., provides mediation services as well as training in negotiation, advocacy and mediation skills for the resolution of public policy problems.
Rubin brings more than 30 years of experience working with and within governmental entities, most recently serving as executive director of government relations for VCU and VCU Health System. As an attorney, he has served as a government relations representative for a university as well as numerous professional associations and businesses. He has mediated a wide variety of legislative, regulatory and legal disputes and served as counselor to then-Gov. Timothy Kaine. As an adjunct professor at several Virginia law schools, he has taught courses in mediation, mediation advocacy and legislative advocacy.
Rubin has experienced success facilitating public policy discussions and resolutions on a number of different topics, including:
- Business laws — Facilitation between a group of cable television providers and Verizon produced a statute that set out the terms for opening up Virginia’s franchise laws to create a competitive marketplace. The statute passed the Virginia General Assembly with no opposition.
- Water planning regulation — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality convened a negotiated rulemaking session to assist the department in water-resource planning for future economic development and conservation. Mediation among about 20 stakeholders, including professional associations and state, local and federal agencies, resulted in a regulation that was enacted and implemented. The regulation has since served as a model for other states.
- Tax laws — Representatives from the Virginia Manufacturers Association, local government associations and the state tax department met with Rubin to produce a change in tax laws concerning the purchase of new manufacturing equipment. The resulting consensus legislation was enacted.
- Zoning laws — Representatives of Virginia farm wineries, local government, agribusiness and state agencies participated in a facilitated stakeholder problem-solving process to produce legislation that resolved a statewide zoning issue concerning farm wineries. The legislation passed.
- Health care laws — Stakeholders from the medical community, trial lawyers and insurers worked with Rubin to produce two pieces of legislation concerning the assignments of benefits and prioritization of payment sources for health services. They were passed unanimously by the General Assembly.
- Financial issues — Virginia was threatened with legal action for the low level of payments made to court-appointed counsel in criminal suits. Rubin met with stakeholders from the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, the attorney general’s office and the Virginia Supreme Court to work out a method to increase payments and avoid litigation.