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Mediation Will Continue into New Year for Two Sides Involved in Service Delivery Strategy Dispute

Saturday, January, 5, 2019

The ongoing Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) dispute between Baldwin and Milledgeville County officials will stretch into the new year, after no resolution was found between the two in ongoing mediation session in 2018.


The two sides met as recently as mid-December, but like all the previous sessions, walked away unable to reach any sort of conclusive agreement. 


The two sides are required by state law to have an SDS agreement to prevent any overlap in services.  The dispute concerning the agreement has been ongoing for more than a year and a half with continued meetings between the two sides. 


According to city officials from both sides, significant progress was made at times, but a final resolution was never reached.  Negotiations came to a standstill in the fall of 2017 and several meetings after that were cancelled. 


Mediation sessions began in the first half of 2018, but no agreement was reached and two extensions were requested.   According to county officials, progress was made in these sessions initially, but then the city would change its mind about the progress by the next meeting and everything would fall backward.


A third extension was finally requested.


According to a press release issued by the county, “In early November, the commissioners were confident that an agreement had been reached.  Several days later commissioners were informed that the small group resolution would not be adopted by the city council. ”


Disappointed but still willing to work toward a resolution, three more meetings were held between October and mid-December of 2018.  Each session included an exchange of ideas but no resolution was mediated.


At the final mediation session of the year, county commissioners adopted two resolutions, but more work is needed in 2019 to complete resolve the issue.