The Mayor announced MEND NYC, a program to provide mediation to New Yorkers and hospitality businesses across the city who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues. This is a free, innovative alternative that can bring lasting solutions to longstanding local issues, which are tracked by complaints to 311.
MEND (Mediating Establishment and Neighbor Disputes) NYC will serve hundreds of New York residents and businesses each year, creating opportunities to resolve disputes before they escalate to the need for formal enforcement, such as issuing summonses, which can add financial hardship to small businesses operating under new rules and guidelines. Mediation is a constructive conversation between people in conflict that is facilitated by an experienced, neutral third person. Mediation provides participants an opportunity to collaboratively design creative solutions and repair tense relationships. MEND will get businesses and New Yorkers to communicate directly and establish respectful ongoing dialogue, helping them to compromise and coexist.
The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) will administer the MEND NYC program in partnership with the Office of Nightlife at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. OATH is the City’s central independent administrative law court where summonses issued by the City’s various enforcement agencies are filed. Also housed in OATH is the City’s central mediation center, the Center for Creative Conflict Resolution, which has traditionally been responsible for mediating City government workplace conflict. MEND NYC will represent the first time OATH’s Center for Creative Conflict Resolution makes its services and expertise widely available to the general public, with mediations taking place outside of the OATH court system hearing process. OATH has professional mediators and conflict resolution trainers at its Center but OATH has also worked diligently to partner with conflict resolution groups and law schools across the City to build up a roster of trained mediators who can assist the MEND NYC program. These mediators will be working pro bono and will help ensure that the MEND NYC program is available to all who want to participate in this free option.
The Office of Nightlife, a non-enforcement liaison between the City and the nightlife industry and community, will be actively referring cases where there may be chronic or urgent quality of life complaints related to a restaurant, bar, or other nightlife venue. The Office of Nightlife will also provide education and support to businesses to assist with compliance and with maintaining good relationships with their neighbors.