October 05, 2018

Sandia National Labs Shutters Ombuds Program

The National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratory has announced the immediate closure of its Corporate Ombuds Office immediately. The move affects Mauricio "Reese" Ramos, Sandia's the Ombuds in Livermore, CA, and Jennifer Stinebaugh, the Ombuds in New Mexico. No explanation was given for the decision, but it may be lined to the recent management change--Honeywell International took over management of Sandia in May 2017. 

According to its website, the Sandia Ombuds program "was established in 1992 as a confidential and neutral resource to which Sandia employees and non-Sandians could bring any Sandia-related issues, questions and concerns, as well as get assistance in resolving disputes in an informal, non-escalating way." Ramos joined the lab in 2007 and served two terms as the IOA President. Stinebaugh has worked at Sandia since 2012.

Related posts: New Ombuds at SandiaIOA President Returns to Lead Board for Second TermU.S. Secretary of Energy Endorses Ombuds.


  1. Another office bites the dust as IOA navel gazes.

    1. I'm no IOA apologist, but I seriously wonder what you think IOA reasonably could have done. I'm trying to imagine a cold call from IOA to the Sandia lab director pleading for a program in a organization we know nothing about. And to think Reese, with his extensive IOA connections, didn't or couldn't use IOA as a resource seems insulting.
      -The Angry Ombuds

    2. If IOA had engaged a PR firm by now and/or a lobbyist, decision makers in buyout corporations would have a better idea of the value of OO.

      Instead they use funds tohire the same fuzzy guy who talks about IOA’s values blah blah blah and got us Kellen management. If Kellen did not work out a couple years later, why use this guy’s silly methods again? Invite RFPs for God’s sake and stop paying this guy for nothing.
      Oh, for a practical Board.

    3. Wow I am so glad someone finally said this. I truly can not believe that some of the same people that signed the Sherwood/Kellen agreement are on the taskforce yet again. A huge mistake was made by these people and we are still using them and the same consultant to make yet another one. Unbelievable!!!

    4. I'm not sure what you mean by 'fuzzy guy', but I guess you mean Ralph Bloch. To hear you tell it, the Board stood on Main St with a fistful of $100 bills asking anyone who'd care to, to take the association's lunch money. It's not as if we determined what we needed and why, conducted a thorough search and selected the best candidate from a pool, or anything. In that same vein, I suppose it would make perfect sense to go about finding a new management company without considering IOA's values and mission.

      We went through a deliberate and painstaking RFP process and evaluated several AMC's, the ones willing to take us on as a client. Sherwood was the best fit and the one we selected, Kellen wasn't in the picture nor the AMC we chose. I stand by my vote for Sherwood to this day. Sometimes things happen that are outside our control. Imagine that!

      I can't speak for the process the Board followed to contract with Bloch/Reed this time around, but having been a board member, I'm sure the decision wasn't made lightly. And wouldn't it make sense to work with someone who already understood our challenges instead of reinventing that wheel? I'm going to assume you read the association report provided by Bloch some 5 years ago. And that you also read the recommendations from Chuck Howard a few years after that. And that you've reviewed the most recent one from The Nerdery. That's 3 different assessments and 3 different AMCs for the same association. At what point do we look at ourselves as a client and realize that maybe, just maybe IOA has some issues it needs to solve? I don't pretend to have the answer, but I try to be part of the solution.

      IOA continues to struggle with wanting to be all things to everyone and it just doesn't have the bandwidth to do so. Nonetheless, countless passionate, engaged and hopeful VOLUNTEERS continue to give their time and talent to keep us moving forward.

      When was the last time you got off the high horse, made some valuable suggestions and rolled up your sleeves to put them into action? Otherwise, it's just like you're sitting on a high chair, spewing half truths and pointing at spilt milk. So easy to criticize and point fingers from the comfort provided by a computer screen and anonymity.

      Anamaris Cousins Price
      IOA member since 2005
      Conference committee member 2010 and co-chair 2011-2012
      IOA Board Officer 2012-2016
      IOA President 2013-2015

  2. Hey, Angry, think beyond the specific. The fact is, IOA does a horrible job of selling the broad range of CEOs and Boards on the wisdom of incorporating ombuds into their organization. Every organization with 5,000 or more employees should have an ombuds - not for mr, not for you: to protect the institution from seppuku.

  3. If you want to change it, maybe continuing to work to change it would be a more constructive approach. I am not involved in IOA very much but I certainly wouldn't assume any professional organization the size of IOA should be able to drive corporate America's decisions, nor be able to protect offices or roles in which much dysfunctional leadership and management fears.

    1. 100% agree. I'm not sure what is actually realistic to expect in terms of PR or lobbying outcomes for an org of this size and budget. If I were to prioritize, it would be to help get a very big, very high profile company (Uber, Google, etc.) to launch an ombuds function and then help promote the heck out of it. That's what will get attention from other corporations and boards - not a shoestring lobby and PR effort.

  4. Hi good colleagues, I do not know what could have been done on this one; it may be that various people tried? Board members have helped a LOT with several similar situations this past year and helped to save some offices. //// May I also ask your advice about something? Those of us who have worked on IOA surveys are concerned that because many OOs do not spend the 60-90 minutes needed to complete the biennial survey we simply do not know yet enough about what OOs do to make a strong case externally. Those of you who are on the website here and who Twitter likely did your surveys; do you have some ideas about how we can engage another 500 OOs to offer their anonymous practice information? Past survey results suggest that a hundred OOs (who took the survey) are actually doing very significant work but we do not yet have enough people who understand the need for effective data to share with CEOs. Please help us with ideas on fostering the idea that contributing practice information is a professional responsibility????

  5. Lobbyists. Persuasive CEO. Targeting lawmakers. Instead we spend our resources for a second round with a consultant who was useless before, and will be back for round 2 of what do we want to be, what are the values and mission and oh let’s have an icebreaker zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Take ACTION. STOP PLANNING. The profession is in CRISIS.