Workshop—Bridging Divides: What to Do When People Disagree

Please note: Registration is through the Association of Minnesota Counties. The League of Minnesota Cities is partnering with several state and local government organizations to co-sponsor this event, as listed at the bottom of this page.

As a city leader, there are times when you work with people who have different perspectives, values, and goals. Combining different visions can lead to new, innovative ideas and creative solutions that keep cities moving forward. However, when emotions run high and positions are deeply held, these situations can also lead to conflicts.

What do you do when an upset community member comes to you with a problem? How do you approach hot topics such as generational conflicts in the workplace, buffer strips, or police-community relations that can lead to contentious debates?

Get answers to these questions when you join fellow local government officials at workshops in a city near you this spring to explore how you can effectively diffuse conflicts and work to create solutions in your community!

During this training, you will learn how to de-escalate difficult situations and move from confrontation and conflict to effective problem solving by practicing:

  • Identifying different situations that can lead to conflict
  • Discovering what others need to move forward, even when they aren't saying it
  • Explaining what you need in way that creates conversation instead of confrontation
  • Managing high emotions
  • Integrating the needs of everyone involved to develop solutions that get implemented

You’ll also explore skills that go beyond compromising, that will give you additional ways to handle conflict, including:

  • De-escalation and dealing with strong emotions
  • Increasing mutual understanding
  • Building consensus
  • Effective communication techniques for difficult situations


  • Mariah Levison, Manager, Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution
  • Dave Bartholomay, Program Coordinator, Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution

The Minnesota State Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution (OCDR), a division of the Bureau of Mediation Services, serves as a statewide catalyst to advance the sustainable resolution of matters of public interest, broad use of community mediation, and effective collaboration and dispute resolution in state and local government.

Their services include assessment, process design, mediation, facilitation, convening, consensus building, training, and more. OCDR specializes in working with public sector entities. Their approach is to uncover the core concerns and goals of the parties underlying the issues in dispute so that they become invested in solving a common public problem by developing creative options to address the concerns and goals of all involved with the ultimate objectives of reaching an actionable, sustainable solution which improves working relationships and the efficiency and effectiveness of government.

Audience: This workshop is open to all local government officials, including city administrators, managers, mayors, councilmembers, clerks, and other city supervisors

Registration Fee: FREE
Please note: This workshop is free of charge, but registration is required. Lunch is not provided for this workshop.

Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Check-in begins at 9:30)

May 24—Rochester
Southeast Service Cooperative and Wood Lake Meeting Center
210 Wood Lake Drive SE (view map)
Rochester, MN 55904
Please Note: This location is now full.

May 30—Marshall
Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative
1420 East College Drive (view map)
Marshall, MN 56258

May 31—Mankato
University of Minnesota Extension Regional Office
1961 Premier Drive, Suite 110 (view map)
Mankato, MN 56001
Please Note: This location is now full.

June 6—Mountain Iron
Northeast Service Cooperative
5525 Emerald Avenue (view map)
Mountain Iron, MN 55768

The League of Minnesota Cities is co-sponsoring this event with Association of Minnesota Counties, Lakes Country Service Cooperative, the Minnesota Association of Townships, the Minnesota School Boards Association, the National Joint Powers Alliance, the Northeast Service Cooperative, the Northwest Service Cooperative, Resource Training & Solutions, the Southeast Service Cooperative & Wood Lake Meeting Center, the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative, and University of Minnesota Extension.

Logo image for census workshop partners.