April 23, 2008

Florida County Commissioners Reject Ombuds Proposal

In the wake of a real estate scandal last year, Pinellas County officials have been considering how to do to reform the way the county buys and sells land. On Tuesday, county commissioners rejected a proposal by Commissioner Karen Seel to create an ombudsman so county employees can speak up without fear when they feel someone higher up is playing politics on a real estate deal. Seel suggested creating an employee ombudsman last year. "An employee should never have any hesitation about contacting a commissioner if they think anything is unethical or improper," she said then. But when Seel asked about the ombudsman idea Tuesday, interim County Administrator Fred Marquis quickly rejected it. "I would have a real problem with that whole concept," he said. "Don't build in a system of bypassing the chain of command." (St. Petersburg Times.)

Yes, this is bad news, but an important reminder of the anti-progressive mindset that stands in the way of more rapid growth in the Ombuds profession.

1 comment:

  1. The "chain of command" belief works great if in fact the people within that chain trust that the higher-ups will do something. Here, it seems like that is just the issue, there's no trust or confidence. It will probably take more scandals for folks in authority to realize the severity of the problem. What a missed opportunity.