Last year, the University of California campus cut back its Ombuds Office by 60%. This summer, the office was closed indefinitely due to budget reductions. The former UCSC Ombuds page now lists other resources for stakeholders. Laurie McCann, who had served as the campus Ombuds since 2002, continues to work locally as a consultant. (UCSC HR: Ombuds; LinkedIn.)
July 31, 2012
Unisa, the largest university on the African continent, has appointed Harry Nengwekhulu as its first Ombudsman. The independent Office of the Ombudsman "deals with administrative and managerial fairness complaints from students, staff and anybody outside who has been affected by the actions and decisions of Unisa" and is open to students, staff (both academic and non-academic), and members of the public.
July 30, 2012
The latest issue of the National Association of Corporate Directors magazine includes an article on the value of an Organizational Ombuds program. Written by James Hostetler and Jon McBride, the piece explains why that incorporating Ombuds as part of a comprehensive conflict management system creates tangible value for a corporation.
The next meeting of the Ombuds of Texas on August 8, 2012 will feature a panel presentation on "Legal Issues in the Ombuds Profession." The speakers will be Sean Banks, Ombuds at Shell Oil; Rita Burns, Ombuds at MD Anderson; and Jo Alene Kirkel, Attorney with the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
The UOP Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco is hiring a full-time Ombuds. The primary focus of the position is to "facilitate the resolution of patient complaints involving treatment, clinic operations, ethics, and/or finances." It appears that this is a new position.
July 27, 2012
FINRA's Office of the Ombudsman is offering an opportunity for a graduate student to extern in its Rockville, MD office. The extern must be earning course credit and be able to work at least 15 hours a week during the Fall or Winter 2012 term.
July 26, 2012
The next Association for Conflict Resolution conference will include presentations by three Organizational Ombuds (including two IOA board members) and other programs about Ombuds. The theme of the twelfth annual ACR conference is "Creating Connections: Conflict Resolution in Deeply Divided Times," and will take place September 12-15, 2012 in New Orleans.
As part of her continuing outreach efforts, AfDB Ombudsman Amabel Orraca-Ndiaye recently traveled to Ghana to meet with local staff of the international development banking group. According to an internal newletter report, the objectives of the visit were to sensitize staff on resolving work place grievances using the resources available within the AfDB, and to make staff aware of their role in creating a more respectful and productive work environment.
July 25, 2012
college university in downtown Denver is hiring its first Ombuds. The University Ombuds Officer will establish and run an office that operates according to the International Ombuds Association standards of practice.
Justine Sentenne, who served as the Corporate Ombudsman for the world's largest hydroelectric producer since 1991, retired earlier this year. In addition, Sentenne held a number of leadership positions within the Ombuds profession.
July 24, 2012
July 23, 2012
The International Olympic Committee recently decided to allow Guor Marial, a South Sudanese refugee and marathoner, to compete in under the IOC flag. South Sudan has yet to form a National Olympic Committee and Marial is not a U.S. citizen. Without the IOC's decision, Marial could only have competed as a member of the Sudanese team. According to one news report, the USOC Ombudsman, John Ruger gets some credit for helping resolve the situation.
CoFO will hold its eleventh annual meeting on Friday, October 26, 2012 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA. Organizers are exploring options for "webcasting" the event. Additional program details will be forwarded in early September.
July 19, 2012
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has settled a class sexual harassment lawsuit against the owner of 25 McDonald’s restaurants on terms that include the creation of an Ombuds program.
July 18, 2012
Last week the U.S. Appellate Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a student employee against Southern Illinois University. The student alleged a hostile work and educational environment, and retaliation. The decision recounts how the SIU Ombuds was involved in efforts to resolve the student's complaints.
Registration has opened for the 40th annual California Caucus of College and University Ombuds in Pacific Grove, California on November 11-14, 2012. This year's theme is "The Work of Ombuds: Reflection and Practice" and organizers promise 16 presenters from the US and Canada. This is the first time the caucus has offered online registration. (CCCUO Registration.)
Linda Falkson and Adam Kleinberger from the Cornell University Ombudsman Office will be the guests on the next Blog Talk Radio program with Pattie Porter on August 14, 2012. Falkson and Kleinberger will talk about how their office helps people regarding a problem or conflict, as part of the caring community serving students, faculty and staff.
July 17, 2012
On the first day of the 2012 International Ombudsman Association annual conference, the Board of Directors presented its perspective on the current achievements and challenges facing the Association. The presentation summarized strengths and challenges in the external environment, economic trends, internal finances, leadership, and shared purpose. The Board has now posted the slides and audio file of this presentation.
Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management in Nashville, TN will host the one-day conference on September 25, 2012. Attorney and author Chuck Howard is a featured speaker. The event is geared for professionals in HR, compliance, mediation, social work, counseling, ethics, and management/administration. The keynote address will be given by Neil Levine, Director of the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation at USAID. (Southeast Conference on Conflict Management.)
On-line donors can make gifts directly to specific Michigan departments including the Ombuds Office. (UM Giving.)
July 16, 2012
After several months, the leading cancer research and treatment center in Houston is still seeking an Ombuds Office Manager. The MDACC Ombuds Office serves all employees, including faculty, administrative and classified staff, trainees and fellows and adheres to IOA standards.
July 13, 2012
CoFO has updated its website with summaries of its two most recent meetings. Dozens of federal Ombuds participated and the topics ranged widely.
The American Bar Association's 15th Annual Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference is set for April 3-6, 2013 in Chicago, IL (two weeks before the IOA conference). The conference draws from varied and diverse groups including national and international ADR practitioners and organizations, corporate leaders, government employees, judges, court administrators, and academics.
Cleveland Clinic Health System, one of the largest private medical centers in the world, is seeking applications for an Ombuds position in its Office of the Ombudsman. The position is similar to that of an Organizational Ombuds to the extent that it: Identifies, evaluates and resolves patient complaints; Aggregates and analyzes complaint and satisfaction data; and Determines proactive recommendations and provides feedback of resolution to appropriate parties. However, the Ombuds also, "Conducts investigations for Law Department, negotiates settlements as instructed."
July 12, 2012
The North Carolina town has named two full-time Ombuds: Faith Thompson and Jim Huegerich. Both are already municipal employees and will initially serve only employees before working with the community beginning in fall 2013.
A recent article in the India Times indicates that a growing number of Indian corporations are using Ombuds programs to handle internal and external grievances. In the past six months, HUL (Hindustan Unilever Ltd.), Ranbaxy Laboratories, SKS Microfinance Ltd., and Wipro Ltd. have created Ombuds offices. "It's not just about spelling out a whistleblower policy, but also about having a system that enables all stakeholders to raise concerns about wrongdoings fearlessly and have the confidence that issues, if any, will be resolved," says Alexis Samuel, Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Ombudsperson for Wipro.
July 09, 2012
I'm serving on jury duty, so I'm unable to update the blog as usual. That said, there has been scant Ombuds news in the past few weeks. If you have tips or suggestion, please email them to me at tom.kosakowski atgmaildotcom. Thanks.