Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration

A Neutral Forum for Conflict Resolution and Consensus Building

Programs & Projects

For more than twenty-five years MOPC has assisted state and local government agencies and their stakeholders and constituencies on a variety of projects and initiatives. Recent and ongoing programs and projects are described below.

Administration of Justice & Access to Justice

  • Judicial Branch Strategic Planning Preparations: MOPC recently assisted the MA State Court leaders with preparations for a judicial branch-wide strategic planning process. The office facilitated the development of a collaborative strategic planning approach and principles to ensure the transparency of the process and inclusiveness of all stakeholders and constituencies, engaged in a series of briefings about the collaborative process for court employees system-wide and other public entities and stakeholders and facilitated the formation of an internal process steering committee to lead the strategic planning process design and implementation.

Children & Families

  • Parent Mediation Program: Mediation of child access and visitation disputes in partnership with community mediation centers serving communities state-wide. 

Program Page

  • Mediation Bill Working Group: Consultation on legislation providing for mandatory mediation of disputes involving children pending in Probate & Family Court.


  • Amherst-Regional School District potential Middle School & High School Consolidation: MOPC was engaged by the Superintendent of the Amherst‐Pelham Regional School District to design and facilitate a four‐town community engagement process of exploring a potential consolidation of grades 7–12 in the high school building and repurposing of the middle school building due to declining state funding, grant funding and enrollment in the District in recent years. Repurposing would potentially include vocational and technical licensure programs as well as traditional and nontraditional pathways to higher education providing students with multiple educational options. MOPC’s public engagement process was designed to include confidential interviews with key stakeholders, an online survey open to all four member town communities (which produced 1000 responses), three listening sessions and a public Summit held in the fall of 2015 with presentations, small group discussions and public comment. The Summit was hosted by MA Representative Ellen Story and about 70 people participated throughout the day. Following the Summit, a report was prepared by MOPC summarizing all the public input and providing process recommendations designed to address the issues, concerns, and suggestions from the public input. The recommendations focused on continuing to collect public feedback from the communities, providing information on a regular basis and forming working groups with broad community representation around topics that surfaced in the process.  

Project Report

  • Strategic Planning for Educational Collaboratives: Facilitation of planning for state-wide organization of educational collaboratives serving school districts and facilitation regional organization for south region. 
  • Early Education & Care Working Groups: Facilitation of consensus recommendations for regulatory reform and workforce planning working groups for MA Department of Early Education & Care.
  • Regional School System Initiatives: Facilitation of inter-municipal planning and problem-solving around school districts issues and regionalization options, involving eight towns on the Lower Cape (Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Brewster, Chatham and Harwich); regional school district planning for Chatham and Harwich, and workshops for Dennis-Yarmouth School District public officials , with support from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

Chatham-Harwich Regionalization Project Summary 

Lower Cape Cod Regional School District Summit Project Summary

Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture 

  • Agricultural Mediation Program: Mediation of farm and rural housing loan disputes and capacity-building for sustainable farming, in partnership with US Department of Agriculture, MA Department of Agricultural Resources, and municipal agricultural commissions and agricultural organizations.  Participation in national coalition (CAMP) of state-certified programs for institutionalizing best practices and building capacity within states.  

Program Page

  • Forest Futures Visioning Process: Process design and facilitation of state-wide collaborative public engagement process convened by MA Department of Conservation & Recreation to create 100-year vision for stewardship of MA forests.   

Project Summary    DCR Landscape Designations Website

  • Zebra Mussels Task Force: Facilitation of cross sector planning group convened by the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs to inform regulations on managing aquatic invasive species in MA. 

Project Summary          ZMTF Website

  • National Forest Stakeholder Assessment: Facilitation of focus groups and interviews with stakeholders and members of general public regarding potential designation of national forest in Western MA.
  • Off-Highway Vehicle Working Group: Facilitation of cross-sector consensus recommendations on regulation of off-highway vehicles convened by Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs and MA Department of Conservation & Recreation; legislation passed into law in 2010. 

Project Summary

Health & Human Services

  • Eldercare Workforce Coalition: Stakeholder assessment funded by philanthropic foundations to determine feasibility of multi-stakeholder MA coalition to address shortage of trained workers to care for elderly residents.  

Project Summary

  • Secretariat-wide Visioning Process: Facilitation of visioning process convened by Division of Capital Asset Management to inform Master Plan for Executive Office of Health & Human Services capital assets.  

Project Summary

  • Dialogues on Healthcare Costs: Moderation of deliberative dialogues to study stages of public judgment on healthcare cost policies in partnership with Kettering Foundation and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

Public Safety

  • Agency-wide Mediation Capacity Building: Design and delivery of training for agency-wide capacity-building initiative at the Department of Corrections to support a new workplace mediation program.  

Project Summary

Transportation and Land Use

  • Longfellow Bridge Task Force: Facilitation of collaborative stakeholder process to develop consensus recommendations for MA Department of Transportation on bridge rehabilitation and restoration project.  

Project Summary           Longfellow Bridge Project Website

  • Green Line Extension: Facilitation of public meetings with Metropolitan Area Planning Council regarding the possibility of adding a station at Mystic Valley Parkway as part of the planned Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford.  

Project Summary

  • Affordable Housing Program: Mediation of Ch. 40B affordable housing disputes between developers and municipalities pending before Housing Appeals Committee of the Department of Housing & Community Development.  

Program Page

  • Agency-wide Public Engagement Capacity Building Initiative: Consultation on agency-wide policies and practices and program design for development of in-house training teams for MA Department of Transportation.


  • Public Policy Institute: Moderation of deliberative dialogues on national policy issues in Massachusetts communities, using model developed by the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums, a national network of individuals and organizations using the model. Also includes training and development of deliberative dialogue moderators and exploration of the use of the model for potential community building projects.   

Program Page

  • Dialogue & Deliberation Conference: Design and delivery of regional conference of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, highlighting regional projects including the Forest Futures Visioning Process facilitated by MOPC. Scholarships for state and local public officials, students and university employees were provided by MOPC through funding from the University.
  • Deliberative Dialogue Courses & Forum: Instruction of deliberative dialogue course based on the National Issues Forum model for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. Additionally, deliberative forums were held on economic security and the national debt through Osher classes with similar subject matter for inclusion in a national initiative to collect public input by the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums, in partnership with the New England Center for Civic Life, the regional coordinator for these projects. 
  • University Network for Collaborative Governance

Community Mediation Year-End Report & Evaluation

The FY 2015 report and evaluation of the Massachusetts Community Mediation Center Grant Program was released in January 2016. Read More