June 27, 2017

FCO Elects 2017-19 Board

At a general meeting held during its biennial conference last month, the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman elected new board members for two-year terms.  Johanne Savard, the Ombudsman for the City of Montreal, will serve as the Board Chair.

June 23, 2017

CBA Magazine: Does Your Law Office Need an Ombuds?

The latest issue of official periodical of the Canadian Bar Association, National, features an article explaining why law firms need an Ombuds. The bottom line: "Having an ombudsperson is a signal to lawyers and staff that conflict resolution is a priority." This is particularly important in hierarchical organizations where individuals are not conflict averse.

June 22, 2017

Yeworkwha Belachew: Former Oberlin College Ombuds

Oberlin's founding Ombuds and Director of the campus dispute resolution and restorative justice center, Yeworkwha ("YB") Belachew passed away this week after a long illness.  

June 21, 2017

Holder Report Suggests Ombuds for Uber

In his report to the Uber Board of Directors last week, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recommended the creation of an Ombuds program to improve internal control mechanisms.  The board subsequently adopted all of the recommendations contained in the report.  There are few details about the proposed Ombuds program and there have been no further announcements from the company.  

June 20, 2017

ACGME Launches Ombuds Program

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education -- the not-for-profit that sets educational accreditation standards for US graduate medical education (residency and fellowship) programs and the institutions that sponsors them -- has established an Office of the Ombudsperson. The office offers residents and fellows, "an opportunity to report issues about residency programs and institutions without impacting their accreditation or Recognition status."

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Appoints Ombuds

The FDIC has named M. Anthony Lowe has been appointed the FDIC Ombudsman and Director of the Office of the Ombudsman, effective July 2, 2017. Lowe will be based in Chicago and replaces Cottrell Webster, who retired last year.  

June 19, 2017

International Ombudsman Association Releases 2015 Compensation Report

IOA has published the results of a survey of Ombuds compensation, including salary, bonus, and budget information.  The report is meant to supplement a survey of Ombuds practices released earlier this year.  Members of the professional association were queried in 2016 about compensation rates in 2015.  

Princeton Ombuds Launches Project to Help Women Share Their Stories

In 2014, Wokie Nwabueze, the Ombuds Officer at Princeton University, started interviewing women to collect their wisdom and share their stories.  The effort matured into the Seen & Heard Project which launched earlier this year.  In an interview with author Jennifer Brown, Nwabueze talks about the project and what she sees as the biggest challenges and obstacles for women when it comes to sharing their voice.  Nwabueze also reveals how her own experiences have shaped her ability to become more sensitive, empathetic, and observant.

June 15, 2017

Longtime Ombuds at University of Cincinnati Retires

Lillian Santa Maria, who has served as the Director of the UC Ombuds Office for 23 years, has retired.  She became the University Ombuds in 1994, shortly after the university changed the name from Ombudsman.  During her tenure, the office created several new programs, including student mediation training, and she was honored by the campus for creating a more just climate.  

Ombuds Office at Michigan State University Celebrates Half Century

MSU's Office of the University Ombudsperson is marking fifty years of continuous service. “Being the first office to reach the 50-year milestone really speaks volumes to Michigan State’s commitment to student well-being, student safety and student rights and responsibilities,” said Robert Caldwell, who serves as MSU’s fifth ombudsperson. 

June 13, 2017

Tech Strategist Suggests Ombuds as a Fix for 'Broken' HR System

Writing for Backchannel, the online magazine about the tech industry, Karen Wickre explains why 'HR is broken.' Notable failures include the treatment of Anita Hill and Ellen Pao. She writes, "The stories that have emerged show HR departments that ignore or penalize employees when they complain about harassment." The problem is worse in the tech

June 12, 2017

Faculty Seek Ombuds Programs Across University System of Maryland

The Council of University System Faculty for the University of Maryland will resubmit its recommendation for Ombuds offices for all faculty, staff, and students. Currently, the University System of Maryland has Ombuds programs on just three of its eleven campuses: UM College Park, UM Baltimore (including the schools of nursing and dentistry), and Frostburg State University. 

June 09, 2017

Senator Wants U.S. Parks Ombuds to be More of a Resource for Sexual Harassment Matters

In response to growing complaints of sexual harassment and a lack of leadership on employee misconduct, the National Park Service implemented a range of reforms in 2016, including the creation of an Ombuds Office.  This week, Acting NPS Director gave an update to the Senate and received some credit for the new Ombuds program.  One senator, however, thought that the Ombuds' website was not explicit enough in offering services for employees with sexual harassment concerns. 

Caribbean Ombudsman Association Convenes 9th Annual Conference

The Caribbean Ombudsman Association will hold its 2017 conference in Bonaire next week.  CAROA has 15 members who are mostly Classical Ombuds.  

Here are details from a press release:

June 08, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Endorses Ombuds

In a statement to Department of Energy employees last week, Secretary Rick Perry gave his full support for workplace ADR programs and the DOE Office of the Ombudsman.  Perry said that he, "expect[s] all employees, including managers, to incorporate alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques in daily interactions so that workplace conflicts do not escalate and become destructive." Rita Franklin been the DOE Ombuds since the role was established in 2012.