Island mediation program celebrates 30 years


Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Tim Madden will help the Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program (MVMP) celebrate its 30th anniversary on Wednesday, Oct. 1.

The public is invited to join Senator Wolf, Representative Madden, MVMP board members and volunteer mediators, and other supporters of the program at 11 am in the Dukes County Courthouse on Main Street, Edgartown, for a short program, followed at 11:30 am by a reception at the Baylies Room in the nearby Whaling Church.

Mediators help people have the difficult conversations that are often necessary before they can settle their differences, according to a press release. The Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program provides these services for Dukes County residents on a sliding-scale fee basis. Parties to small-claims cases in the Edgartown District Court may elect to go to mediation instead of having their case decided by the clerk-magistrate; this service is provided at no cost.

Among those who make use of the program’s services are landlords and tenants, employers and employees, contractors and clients, business partners, family members, and couples who are separating or divorcing.

The MVMP was founded in 1984 as a court-based program by Judge Herbert Tucker and Thomas Teller, then clerk-magistrate for the Edgartown District Court. In 1990 the program expanded to accept cases from the Martha’s Vineyard community. It is approved by the state as a court-annexed mediation program, and thus is able to handle cases referred by the Edgartown District Court, Superior Court, and Probate and Family Court.

MVMP receives funding from private donations, grants, income from its modest case fees, and a grant from the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration.