Palm Beach County is seeking submittals for Legal Services for Housing Discrimination Cases
Date of Issuance: 05/28/2021
Submittals due: 07/30/2021

After the issuance date of the RFS, the RFS will be available for download online at

In accordance with the provisions of ADA, this document may be requested in an alternative format.

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.

The Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is continuing to enforce equal employment, housing and places of public accommodation laws while ensuring that all of our activities are consistent with public health guidelines.

The OEO closed its physical office to the public but our work continues.  Preserving access to file a complaint of discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation is important as the laws that the OEO enforces have deadlines within which individuals must file a discrimination complaint.

If you would like to begin the process of filing a charge or complaint of discrimination, you are encouraged to visit the OEO’s website ( to complete the applicable questionnaire.  Additionally, you may also contact the OEO at (561) 355-4884 or (561) 355-1517 (TTY/TDD) to begin the process of filing a charge; or complaint of discrimination; or if you have a disability; or you otherwise have difficulty with accessing the website.

Given these exigent circumstances, we request that you communicate with our office via email, facsimile, or telephone.  You may email correspondence to Kenette Penny-Baker at or via facsimile to (561) 656-7026 and may contact our office at (561) 355-4884 or (561) 355-1517 (TTY/TDD).  While your procedures may require that you mail documents to our agency, we would appreciate if you email or fax documents to our office and we will confirm receipt of the correspondence.

If you have any questions or concerns about this request, please contact Pamela Guerrier, Director at (561) 355-4884 or via email at

We greatly appreciate your flexibility during this time.

I Just Had the Best Mediation….

By: Kathryn McHale 
Published: June 2021

This is what all parties should say after they have mediated a case.  But they don’t, why not?   You have heard that the best settlement or mediation is when everyone leaves unhappy because that means they all gave up something.   How can you have the best mediation?

The decision-makers must participate.   With most, if not all, mediations by Zoom these days, the decision-makers should be participating as they can be available by phone, if not in person on Zoom.   The adjuster who has the authority is listening to the mediation and can then make the decision on whether to settle or not.   He or she is given the real-time opportunity to gain a realistic understanding of the dispute.

The choice of a mediator – Why do you choose a mediator?   Is it because of past successes?  Is it because of his or her expertise in the subject?  You should pick a good listener, a people person who can handle all types of personalities, a deal maker, and someone who can handle the technology challenges we face with Zoom mediations.

Build a Deal – Successful mediations are the ones where a significant expenditure of effort is put forth by both parties before the mediation occurs of laying the framework of the necessary facts, strengths, and weaknesses, analyzing critical legal issues, and finding options that both parties can live within a settlement. The goal is a resolution.  You must be concerned with your own interests and also take into account the interests of the opposing party.  From this, a deal can be made.

Important evidence should be present – In our Zoom world, this means that the important documents or evidence need to be available and shareable during the mediation presentation and caucuses.   Unless it is an early mediation, you should be prepared to put your cards on the table and show some of your hand, if not all of it.    The attorneys know what the strengths and weaknesses of their case are; but the parties, adjusters, and mediators do not necessarily know them in detail.   We all listen to the same presentation, but we may hear different facts that affect us more than someone else.   If there is something that is crucial to how a case is valued, it should be part of the mediation process.

Be realistic – When demands and offers have been made pre-mediation, that should be a starting point for where the mediation begins.   There are times when different demands and offers are made which are lower than what was previously made; but they should be the rarity and based upon something that has transpired in the case since the demand or offer was made.   If frustration starts at the beginning, it is hard to get back on track and achieve the goal of a settlement.

Be patient. Some things take time – We live in a timed world.    Most mediations take time too. When you set aside two hours for mediation, that may not be enough time.   Mediations involve change.  Change involves time to change.  A party in a lawsuit is entrenched in his/her position and believes that he/she is right in those beliefs.   Each side may or may not understand its own interests and those of the other party, and each may have unrealistic expectations.   It takes time to address these issues, and it takes time for people to change their minds. Your mediator should be patient too to help facilitate the change in positions.

Problem Solving – A resolution or signed settlement agreement is the ultimate goal of every mediation.   How do you get there?  Problem-solving involves creativity and an open mind.   There is a lot of brainpower at the mediation; find ways to use it.   Be open to ideas generated from the mediator as to how you can close the gap to a settlement.   Let the mediator help reconcile the interests as he/she hears both sides and can utilize that information to help facilitate a resolution.

What if we don’t settle? – Sometimes the parties just need a little more time to think about what they heard, saw or learned at the mediation.   You should know more about your case after a mediation.   Their strength is maybe not as strong as they thought.   The other party’s weakness was not really a weakness, legally.  The Motion for Summary Judgment was not as scary as they thought once all the evidence was put forth.  Most mediators are willing to continue to help resolve the issues once the parties have left mediation.   Let them.  You selected the mediator to help you get across the finish line and when you think you can get there with just a little more communication let the process continue even after you have left that Zoom call.

So, ask yourself after a mediation: did I achieve my client’s goals?  Did we use our time effectively?  Were we realistic?  Were we patient?  I just had the best mediation.

Kathy McHale is a Florida Bar board-certified civil trial attorney.  She specializes in employment and construction litigation.  Kathy is a Florida Supreme Court certified civil and family law mediator, a member of the American Arbitration Association’s roster of arbitrators and mediators (Employment and Construction panels), a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator and a FINRA-Approved arbitrator.  Ms. McHale serves on the Florida Bar Civil Trial Law Certification Committee.  She is two-term Past President of the Martin Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.  Kathy can be reached at (561) 379-5030 or or by visiting

For additional ADR tips and resources, go to


Environmental Appeals Board Members consist of five members: a professional engineer from the Palm Beach branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers; a water resource professional from the South Florida Water Management District; a drinking water engineer from Department of Environmental Regulations; a member of the Gold Coast Builders Association; and an attorney from the PBC Bar Association.

Responsibilities include:

  • To hear appeals made by the PBC Public Health Unit or the environmental control officer under rules of the Unified Land Development Code (ULDC).
  • This is a 3-year term.

All interested members must submit this form, along with your resume to our Executive Director, Carla Tharp-Brown at

Submission deadline: Monday, May 24th, 2021.


The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Judges and Court staff celebrate the life of the Honorable Walter N. Colbath, Jr., who passed away on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.  He was 86 years old.

Judge Colbath was passionate about public service and politics, beginning his legal career as the Public Defender of the Fifteenth Circuit in 1966.  He left the Public Defender’s office in 1972, and later successfully ran for Councilman, then Mayor of the Village of North Palm Beach.

In 1984, Governor Bob Graham appointed Judge Colbath to the Circuit Court bench, replacing Judge Lewis Kapner.  During his term as Chief Judge from 1997 to 2001, Judge Colbath led the Circuit in many outstanding achievements, including, early on in his term, the establishment of the Foreclosure division, which he presided over. Under his leadership, the juvenile mediation and alternative sanctions programs were developed to address the escalation of cases involving juvenile offenders.  Then, in 1999, Chief Judge Colbath entered an Administrative Order establishing Community Court as a separate County Court division, utilizing volunteer judges to hear pleas involving quality of life offenses.  In 2000, the Domestic Violence Intake Unit and the Batterers Intervention Program were implemented to address the increase in domestic violence cases in the County.  He also oversaw the implementation of programs aimed at reducing jail overcrowding and recidivism rates, while also addressing possible underlying issues such as addiction, mental illness, and joblessness.  In 2001, in his role as Chief Judge, he established the Elder Justice Center to identify and remove barriers faced by older adults by offering services to assist them in connecting with appropriate legal, medical and social service agencies. He retired from the bench in 2001.  After his retirement, he continued to serve the legal community as a successful Circuit Civil Mediator.

Judge Walter N. Colbath, Jr. was a gentle giant and highly respected in the legal community.  He was also a dedicated family man and raised three children, Walter N. Colbath, III; Jeffrey Colbath; and Stephanie Colbath.  Walter N. Colbath, III, who preceded him in death, served as a Mediator and Mediation Coordinator in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. Judge Jeffrey Colbath (retired), also followed his father’s footsteps, first serving on the County Court bench from 1992 to 2003, then the Circuit Court bench from 2003 to 2019, and as Chief Judge from 2013 – 2017. He currently practices as a Circuit Civil Mediator.

Judge Walter N. Colbath, Jr. will be remembered fondly as a great leader of the Circuit and will truly be missed by the judiciary, the legal community, and the Court staff of the Circuit.