A mandatory mediation session in the negotiation of a new Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) Agreement for the governments in Whitfield County has been set for Jan. 7. The mediation session will be held at the Dalton Convention Center.
Under Georgia law, cities and counties are required to negotiate a new SDS every 10 years.
The SDS determines which services will be provided by each government and also how they will be funded.
The existing SDS in Whitfield County expired on Oct. 31 after the parties were unable to come to an agreement during negotiations that included a face-to-face mediation on Oct. 17. Mandatory mediation is the next step under the state’s SDS law (OCGA 36-70-25.1) to resolve a service delivery dispute between governments.
The city of Dalton petitioned for a mandatory mediation in November. Judge Ralph Van Pelt, Jr. of the Lookout Valley Judicial Circuit was appointed on Nov. 8 to preside over the process. Four days later, Judge Van Pelt appointed the Senior Judge Adele Grubbs to serve as mediator for negotiations.
The Jan. 7 mediation session will take place days before a Jan. 12, 2020 deadline imposed by statute that calls for the mediation to close within 60 days of the appointment of a mediator.
The mediation session with Judge Grubbs will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the lower level of the Dalton Convention Center in Room A III. The convention center is located at 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road in Dalton.