November 26, 2008

Ombuds Blog Celebrates Two Years

Since the first post on November 9, 2006, the Ombuds Blog has posted 888 items and drawn 77,000 page views. Monthly visits now approach 3,400 and continue to increase. Almost 58% of visitors return and 183 receive free daily email updates. Although most visitors are located in the United States (89%) and Canada (5%), the site is regularly visited by people in Luxembourg, Australia, Mexico, Switzerland, France, Puerto Rico, Spain and New Zealand. The site now features links to 355 Ombuds offices (up from 281 a year ago).

So far, all this has been accomplished without advertising or financial affiliation. The goal is to continue to map the progress of the Organizational Ombuds profession and to provide relevant resources for practitioners. Please do not hesitate to submit clarifications or news that have been overlooked. Thanks for your support.

Related post: Ombuds Blog Marks First Anniversary.

San Diego State Ombuds Office Marks 40 Years With New Appointment

The Ombuds Office at San Diego State was established as an experiment by the Associated Students Council in 1968. In the 40 years since then, the office has matured into an important resource for students. Marit Bessesen was appointed as the fifth SDSU Ombuds earlier this year, filling the vacancy left by D.A. Graham. Previously, Bessessen was a residence hall administrator for SDSU and Northern Arizona University. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls in English Education and taught high school English for one year. She received a master's in Human Development with an emphasis in Human Resources and College Student Personnel from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. (SDSU Bridge.)

Related posts: New Ombuds at Princeton; Job Posting.

Dispute Resolution Forum at Harvard Features Ombuds

The next Harvard Project on Negotiation forum will feature Chuck Doran, Ombuds and founder of Mediation Works Incorporated. Doran and Melanie Lewis, Corporate Manager of Conflict Management and the Solutions Program Director for Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., will discuss the ADR “Solutions” program at CCE. The forum takes place on December 10, from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. (PON News.)

Update: University of Louisville Ombuds Office Delayed

Details of a new Ombuds program at UofL were expected in October. However, the announcement has been delayed while the University works through a number of logistical issues including location and IT services. University spokesperson John Drees says there isn’t room on campus for another office. No revised timetable for implementation has been offered. (WFPL News; UofL Update.)

Prior post: Out of the Blue, University of Louisville to Open Ombuds Office.

Pacific Ombudsman Alliance Launches

Classical Ombudsmen and government representatives from 11 countries in the Pacific Islands Forum met in Brisbane, Australia recently to launch the Pacific Ombudsman Alliance. Australian Commonwealth Ombudsman John McMillan, who was elected chair of the Alliance at the Brisbane meeting said, “A key aim of the Alliance is to support the development of legislation and programs that recognize the right of citizens to transparent and accountable government services.” (UN Public Administration Network.)

November 25, 2008

University of Minnesota Recommends Faculty Ombuds

At a meeting next week, the UM Faculty Senate will consider a recommendation to implement a faculty Ombuds program for a three year trial period. The recommending committee did not address the administrative details of how to implement the program and suggests that they be worked out by a small group jointly appointed by the President and the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs. The position, if approved, would supplement the Ombuds services offered to students since 1968. (UM Faculty Senate Agenda; Report and Recommendations for Faculty Ombuds Services.)

Job Posting: BearingPoint

The management and consulting company is staffing a Military Healthcare Ombudsman-Soldier Family Advocate for Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Applicants must have a high school diploma and 10 years of professional work experience in a military medical system. No closing date or salary indicated. It is also unclear whether this is a job working for the Army or a contractor. (BearingPoint Jobs via

Related post: Army's Ombuds Program for Soldiers Goes Online.

KeySpan Ombuds to Keynote National HR Conference

Kenny Moore, Corporate Ombuds for KeySpan Corp., will present a keynote address to Employers of Excellence National Conference January 26-29, 2009 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Las Vegas. Moore will discuss the amusing interplay between our business, personal and spiritual lives. (PR Web.)

Related post: Profile of National Grid Ombuds.

Trendspotting: Temp-to-Perm Employees a Growing Concern for Ombuds

Employers are relying more and more on employees who work on a temporary status before becoming permanent. The HR industry calls this "temp to perm" or "temp to hire" and says its a way to "try before you buy." The arrangement benefits employers who are uncertain about the skills of a potential employee or who have concerns about future funding. Employees who may not seem like ideal candidate or who are uncertain about a particular job find the arrangement a good way to work into a permanent position. Although data are hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggests that the numbers of temp-to-perm employees are growing and increasingly include mid-level managers, professionals and executives. Although the practice had its start while the economy was healthy, the trend may accelerate during this recession.

For many temp-to-perm employees, the arrangement has significant drawbacks. One study found that higher psychological morbidity among temporary workers compared with permanent employees. There was also an indication that temporary workers have a higher risk of occupational injuries but use less sick time. Ombuds are accustomed to seeing employees with psychological disorders so this portends higher numbers of temp-to-perm visitors.

In addition, Ombuds are uniquely positioned as a resource for temp-to-perm workers. A significant concern for temporary employees is unavailability of formal safeguards available to permanent employees. Temp-to-perm employees generally can be released at any time without notice or right to grieve the decision. As such, they are especially interested in the informal remedies offered by Ombuds. For these reasons, Ombuds should expect to see growing numbers of temp-to-perm employees. (; NY Times; Temporary Employment and Health: a Review; Yahoo Answers; New Yorker Cartoons.)

Prior Trendspotting posts: Ombuds Not Exempt From Influence of Internet; Online Bullying an Emerging Issue for Ombuds.

November 24, 2008

UN Ombuds Reports on Activities Amid Concerns Over Progress on Reformed Justice System

On November 20, 2008, John Barkat, the United Nations Ombuds, provided a report to the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly. Among other matters, Barkat reported the Ombuds Office is revising its terms of reference, and working on the establishment of a Mediation Division and making progress on selecting Regional Ombuds for the seven new branches of the Office. Additionally, according to a recent online report, the UN Budget Committee has also raised some concerns about the slow progress on efforts to reform the UN's internal justice system. UN member states reiterated the urgent need for reform of the UN's justice system and expressed regret over “numerous delays and tasks outstanding” and insisted that exceeding the deadline of January 1, 2009 was “not an option.” Michael Scanlon of the United States also called for clarifying the respective roles of the Office of the Ombudsman and Ethics Office. (7th Space.)

Related posts: UN Budget Increases Funds and Scope of Ombuds Office; Job Posting; UN Ombuds Reports on Reorganization Efforts.

Marquette University Ombuds Reports on Activities

In a report to the campus's Subcommittee on Equity earlier this fall, Kerry Egdorf, the University Ombuds, said that she handled 83 cases between May 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 (26 staff, 30 faculty, 19 administrators, 5 students, 2 parents, and 1 former employee). Women comprised 90% of her visitors and a majority of matters involved evaluative relationships. Egdorf also sought to quell any negative rumors about the departure of her successor, Rita Burns, who became the Ombuds at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. (MU Subcmte on Equity Minutes.)

Related posts: Federal District Court Respects Role of Marquette University Ombuds.

ICANN Ombuds Earns Doctorate

Frank Fowlie, ICANN Ombudsman, has completed his Doctor of Conflict Resolution from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. His research dissertation on evaluating Ombuds programs is available on line. (ICANN Ombudsman Blog.)

November 22, 2008

Leading Immigration Lawyer Urges Obama to Retain USCIS Ombuds

Angelo Paparelli, President of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, says that, "President-elect Obama should consider keeping in place the current Ombudsman to USCIS (Michael Dougherty) who despite a very short tenure has made great strides in keeping USCIS on its toes." (Angelo Paparelli's Blog via Immigration Daily.) Related posts: Profile of New Immigration Ombuds; Immigration Ombuds Issues Annual Report.

Related posts: Obama and the Future of the ADR Profession; Media Coalition Calls on Obama to Revive FOIA Ombuds Office.

November 21, 2008

Has the CIA Created Another Ombuds Program?

A New York Times article on an internal investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency into the accidental downing of a missionary plane in Peru in 2001 reveals that the agency may have created an Ombuds program earlier this year. A report by John L. Helgerson, the CIA’s inspector general, said that the agency routinely authorized interceptions of suspected drug planes “without adequate safeguards to protect against the loss of innocent life.” According to the Times, Helgerson agreed to a series of changes earlier this year, including the creation of an Ombuds position to hear complaints from CIA officers being scrutinized by the IG. This corroborates reports from earlier this year, based on leaked internal emails, of a new CIA Ombuds program. (NY Times;

These recent developments would seem to imply that there had not been an Ombuds program at the CIA previously, but a 2004 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee indicates otherwise. When the Senate investigated the intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war, it took testimony from the CIA's Ombuds (who reported that the "hammering" of analysts was more severe than he had ever seen in his 32-year career). In summarizing that testimony, the Senate report offers this glimpse into the structure of the CIA Ombuds program:
The CIA created the position of Ombudsman for Politicization in 1992 to respond to alleged issues of politicization and analytic distortion. According to the Ombudsman's Charter, the position serves as an "independent, informal, and confidential counselor for those who have complaints about politicization, biased reporting, or lack of objective analysis. The Ombudsman reports directly to the Director of Central Intelligence.

In his testimony, the CIA Ombuds revealed that he had launched a "formal investigation" after receiving a verbal complaint that an intelligence report was misleading. There is no indication that the Ombuds asserted a privilege or revealed the names of the individuals he consulted. (Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence via FAS Intelligence Resource Program; LA Times; US News & World Report.)

So the CIA apparently had an Ombuds program from 1992 until at least 2004. Then, in 2008, the agency agreed to create an Ombuds program for IG matters. Are there now two programs in place? Or was the first program shut down? These questions and others are likely never to be answered. The CIA Ombuds program is not mentioned in the comprehensive Report to the President on Federal ADR Programs, which includes 42 different agencies and departments, nor does the CIA have any representation on the Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen.

Job Posting: Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is accepting applications for an Ombuds at its South Pointe Hospital. "Through mediation and negotiation, the ombudsman ensures a positive working relationship between physicians, staff, patients, and their families in order to support and maintain the highest quality of patient standards." A bachelor's degree and 3-4 years of experience are required. No salary or closing date indicated. (Health Care Source.)

November 20, 2008

Update: Army's Ombuds Program for Soldiers Goes Online

The US Army has unveiled a website for the Ombudsman Program in Support of Warriors in Transition. The Army Ombuds function as independent, impartial and neutral mediators for injured soldiers and family members who are in need of assistance in the resolution of problems encountered during their healing process. The Ombuds are contract employees who were selected for their experience, determination, and passion to help soldiers. About 60 Ombuds are employed at 32 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico and Germany. A unique aspect of the website is an online submission form that allows individuals to register complaints anonymously. (Army Ombudsman Program website.)

Prior post:
Army Launches Online Ombuds Program.

Related posts:
National Taxpayer Advocate Plans Study of Federal Ombuds; Report to the President on Federal ADR Programs; University of Wisconsin Appoints Ombuds for Veterans.

November 19, 2008

Berkeley Recommends Ombuds After Campus Israeli-Palestinian Incident

After a number of troubling incidents at the University of California Berkeley, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau reaffirmed the campus's commitment to reasoned and civil debate, and called upon individuals to engage in continued vigilance, constructive dialogue and concerted action to protect these values. In a letter to the campus, Birgeneau and other administrators promoted the student and staff Ombuds Offices as a resource for dealing with provocations. (UC Berkeley News.)

Related posts: New Staff Ombuds at Cal Berkeley; UC Berkeley Appoints Ombuds for Students.

What Not to Say at Work

Sometimes, Ombuds are simply a resource for common sense advice. Some visitors seem ill-equipped to discern the standards of workplace culture. Here's a handy list of things one should avoid in conversation with colleagues:
  1. How much you had to drink last night;
  2. How much your shoes cost;
  3. Who you sleep with, and how often;
  4. How you ripped off the system on your last business trip;
  5. How sick you are of the job;
  6. How much you despise the boss; and
  7. How excited you are about all the things God is telling you.
(Men's Health.)

Related posts: Dealing With Obnoxious Coworkers; Saying the Right Thing in a Difficult Situation.

November 18, 2008

Report to the President on Federal ADR Programs

Bill Warters at Campus-ADR Tech Blog highlights the 2007 report by representatives from the Federal Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group Sections and Steering Committee. This report is relevant for Ombuds in two ways. Most significantly, it provides compelling evidence of the effectiveness and cost savings associated with ADR processes. In addition, it summarizes the activities of 42 different Ombuds programs in federal agencies, many of which are highlighted as examples of how the government is achieving its mission of accessibility, responsiveness, and inclusiveness. (Campus-ADR Tech Blog; Report for the President on the Use and Results of Alternative Dispute Resolution.)

The report is being added as a permanent link to the list of Critical Ombuds Documents.

November 17, 2008

Job Posting: UN Office for Project Services

The project management and support service agency is accepting applications for an Ombudsman for the Funds and Programmes to be stationed in New York. The two-year position will provide an impartial, independent and informal conflict-resolution mechanism for the settlement of employment-related problems for staff members and personnel. An advanced university degree and fifteen years is requested. No salary indicated. Closing date: December 15, 2008. (UNOPS Vacancy Details.)

Related posts: UN Budget Increases Funds and Scope of Ombuds Office; UN Ombuds Reports on Reorganization Efforts.

Job Posting: Apollo Group

The S&P 500, for-profit educational corporation is seeking an Associate Ombuds for its Phoenix headquarters. Applicants must have five years of relevant experience in a corporate or university setting. The position pays $55,000-60,000 per year. No closing date indicated. (Apollo Group Posting.)

Utah Valley University Introduces Student Ombuds

The 24,000-student public college in Orem offers an Ombuds program to help students with any problem. The office is staffed currently by Ashley Robertson, a third-year UVU student who has worked in five different school departments. She reports that student issues frequently include harassment, housing problems, roommate disputes, student rights concerns, grading issues, and unfair teachers. There are no other Ombuds programs in the state. (UVU Review.)

Georgia Tech Consolidates Ombuds Offices

Georgia Institute of Technology has combined the three Ombuds Offices which previously served faculty, staff and graduate student separately. Under the new structure, the Ombuds office will report to the Institute president through the Office of the Provost. Engineering Professor Emeritus Narl Davidson and Physics Professor Emeritus Ed Thomas are the faculty ombuds; Engineering Professor William (Russ) Callen is the graduate student ombuds; and John Schultz is the classified staff ombuds. Renovations are under way to provide a centralized office. (The Whistle.)

Dartmouth Ombuds Interviewed on Public Radio

Vermont Public Radio profiled Dartmouth Ombuds Mary Childers as she signed copies of her book, Welfare Brat: A Memoir. According to the campus newspaper, "Unlike many high minded academics, Mary Childers is a true story of the American dream." (Vermont Public Radio; The Dartmouth Review.)

Related post: Interview With New Dartmouth Ombuds.

November 16, 2008

Westmont College Considering Ombuds to Assist Students After Wildfires

The small, private liberal arts campus near Santa Barbara was hit hard by the recent wildfires and lost several buildings. Westmont President Gayle Beebe said the college is developing an Ombuds program and in other ways working to “minimize damage on all fronts including the grading front.” Consideration will be given to students under timelines for projects, for example, or whose academic work was consumed by the fire. (Santa Barbara Independent; Westmont Announcement.) It appears the program will be temporary and the appointed Ombuds will serve as advocates for students.

Related post: California Fires Shutter Ombuds Offices.

Pepperdine Law School Revives Ombuds Course

After a hiatus of nearly three years, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University is offering a two-unit course about Ombuds practice in Spring 2009. The class is being taught by Kathy Canul, director of the UCLA Ombuds Office. (Straus Class Schedule.)

Related posts: Pepperdine Opens Ombuds Office; UCLA Seeks Extern.

November 14, 2008

University of Iowa Endorses Ombuds Office After Faculty Suicide

A UI professor accused of sexual harassment apparently committed suicide Wednesday afternoon, prompting university officials to reiterate the availability of resources to avoid such incidents. UI spokesperson Steve Parrott said faculty accused of misconduct can go to the Office of the Ombudsperson and have confidential conversations to determine how to protect their reputation and resolve the problem. Coincidentally, the UI Ombuds Office made a presentation to the Graduate Student Senate the same afternoon as the professor's death. (The Maneater; GSS Minutes.)

Of course, the Ombuds' duty of confidentiality would preclude any admission that the professor had sought assistance from the Ombuds Office.

Related posts: University of Iowa Ombuds Issues Annual Report; Ombuds Prompts Changes at University of Iowa.

11/16/08 Update: Cynthia Joyce, the UI Ombuds, said concerns about harassment by a professor or about a faculty relationship are infrequent. "But to be fair they loom very large when they happen," she said. (Cedar Rapids Gazette.)

11/24/08 Update: In an editorial, Ann H. Franke, president of Wise Results, lawyer and consultant specializing in higher-education law, also recommends Ombuds as a resource for for those accused of harassment. (Chronicle of Higher Ed.)

November 12, 2008

List of Leading Dispute Resolution Processes Omits Ombuds

An article at provides brief descriptions of the most common dispute resolution processes:
  • Arbitration
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Facilitation
  • Mediation
  • Parenting Coordination

Ombuds are notably absent from this list despite the fact that the website has featured several articles (by Michael Eisner, Rick Russell, Marsha Wagner, and Ethan Katsch), and even videos (by Howard Gadlin) about Ombuds. Ombuds are certainly as well established in the ADR firmament as collaborative practitioners and parenting coordinators. They really should have been included.

Study of Belgian Ombuds

Research in Belgium suggests that classical ombudsmen not only help citizens with individual concerns but also function as "change agents" and provide early warnings of problems in public administration. The study found that the role of ombudsmen in directly strengthening trust in government is limited at best. The findings also indicate that the socially disadvantaged are less likely to use the service. (The Relationship between Ombudsman, Government, and Citizens: A Survey Analysis.)

Survey Finds Rising Incidence of Paranoia

Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College have found that people in Britain and the United States evidence slowly rising rates of paranoia. Experts say people display a wide spectrum of paranoia, from the irrational fears many people have daily to dangerous delusions, and estimates of the affliction range widely, from 5 to 50 percent. British psychologist Daniel Freeman, author of a new book on the subject, said that in big cities, many ambiguous events can lead to paranoid thoughts because people constantly make snap judgments based on limited information. (MSNBC News; Paranoia: The 21st Century Fear.)

Ombuds everywhere are nodding knowingly.

Related post: Federal District Court Respects Role of Marquette University Ombuds.

November 10, 2008

Media Coalition Calls on Obama to Revive FOIA Ombuds Office

The Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media groups, is asking President-elect Barack Obama to take immediate steps to strengthen open government and counteract years of growing government secrecy. In particular, SGI urges the Obama administration to "create an independent, online ombudsman to help citizens access their government" by quickly implementing the Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives and Records Administration to mediate disclosure disputes. (SGI White Paper via National Journal's Congress Daily.)

Related posts: Bush Defunds FOIA Ombuds Program; NY Times Calls for Restoration of FOIA Ombuds; Federal FOIA Ombuds Office Remains in Limbo; Obama and the Future of the ADR Profession.

Federal Ombuds Meeting This Week

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen holds its next bi-monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 12. At its most recent annual meeting, CFO identified several issues for further discussion, especially Ombuds law and Ombuds position descriptions. (CFO Home.)

Related posts: Federal Ombuds Annual Conference on June 11, 2007; Perspective on Ethical Standards for Federal Mediators and Ombuds; Job Posting: DOD Office of Inspector General.

November 09, 2008

Update: Maine Library to Choose Ombuds

When the Patten Free Library fired a long-time children's librarian in September 2007, a controversy quickly erupted. Seven weeks of mediation sessions lead to an agreement that called for the library to hire an Ombuds for staff, among other provisions. The mediation committee will make a presentation Monday night at the annual business meeting of the library's corporators and recommend a three-year term for the Ombuds, who has yet to be named. (Maine Times Record; Patten Free Blog.)

Prior post: Local Maine Library Considers Ombuds to Quell Public Outcry Over Firing.

City of Flint Ombuds Shuttered by Budget Cuts

Brenda Purifoy, the Ombudsman for the Michigan City, said she has been forced to laying off her entire staff and defer pending cases because of budget cuts. The office investigates complaints of government wrongdoing pursuant to a city charter, had four employees in addition to Purifoy. City-wide budget cuts are currently the subject of pending litigation. Purifoy has asked the court to revisit the latest ruling on the city's budget that failed to address the Ombudsman's budget. "I'm just floored," Purifoy said. "It's been very difficult." Unless funding is restored, Purifoy herself will be out of work in March 2009. (Flint Journal; ABC12.)

Related post: California Decimates Long Term Care Ombuds Program.

November 07, 2008

Job Posting: FDA

The Food and Drug Administration is hiring an Ombuds. The position serves as a "dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to managers and employees in resolving work-related issues and disputes." In addition, the FDA Ombuds serves as the initial and primary contact for FDA customers and oversees the work of third party neutrals. The position pays $115,317 to $149,000 per annum. Applications are due by November 18, 2008. (USAJobs; FederalGovernmentJobs.)

Related post: FDA CDER Ombuds Issues Annual Report.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Renames Student Ombuds Office

Because most students don't know the meaning of the word "Ombudsperson," UNL decided to rename the Office of Ombuds Services as the "Office for Student Assistance." Assistant vice chancellor and student Ombuds Tim Alvarez explained that, “The name ombudsperson just didn’t resonate with students.” According to Alvarez, the students simply found the term antiquated. The services provided by the newly renamed office are unchanged and remain confidential, impartial, independent, and informal. The webpage for the office has changed in name only. Meanwhile, the UNL Staff Ombuds office is keeping its name. (UNL Scarlet; UNL Office of Student Assistance; Archived UNL Ombuds Services; UNL Staff Ombuds.)

This development highlights a perennial problem for Organizational Ombuds: the name does not resonate with consumers. The "brand" is further diluted by the many variations on the word "Ombudsman," not to mention the differences with Classical Ombuds. If there was an easy solution, it surely would have been adopted. Until there is a clear consensus, Ombuds must be diligent about marketing their service.

Related post: UK Financial Ombudsman Service Debates Name Change.

November 06, 2008

Obama and the Future of the ADR Profession

Mediator Robert Benjamin offers reasons to hope that President-Elect Barack Obama will be a boon to the alternative dispute resolution field and a valuable endorsement of mediation:
  • Obama appears to think in a systemic frame, as opposed to a linear frame, and he operates from a more flexible protean perspective, un-tethered to any particular ideology or orthodoxy.
  • Obama’s personal history, being from a multi-racial and cultural background, offers him up as the embodiment of the ‘protean self’ suggested by Robert J. Lifton.
  • Obama’s leadership style offers a model for the highest quality of negotiation and mediation practice and invites emulation and application in other areas.
Benjamin concludes that professional conflict practitioners should prepare to capitalize on Obama's leadership and the example he sets. (

Resource for Graduate School Conflict

Michigan State University's Graduate School has developed an impressive collection of resources for constructive conflict resolution between faculty and graduate students. In addition to a book, Setting Expectations and Resolving Conflicts, the program has produced video vignettes to spark discussion about the expectations and underlying interests that may be unspoken in many common graduate school conflicts. The clips are available on a DVD and some are online. (MSU Gradaute School; Setting Expectations and Resolving Conflicts in Graduate Education, via Campus-adr Weblog.)

November 04, 2008

University of Idaho to Expand Ombuds Services to Students

On the recommendation of University Ombuds James R. Fazio, Ph.D., the UI Faculty Council approved a plan to extend Ombuds services to the student body. Previously, the Ombuds Office was available only to faculty and staff. However, Fazio did not believe that students would increase the workload unreasonably. The Faculty Council also agreed to recognize both faculty and staff Ombuds with equal status. (UI Faculty Council Minutes.)

November 03, 2008

Job Posting: DOD Office of Inspector General

The US Department of Defense watchdog agency is hiring an Ombuds -- "a neutral, independent, confidential resource tasked with facilitating the resolution of internally-generated complaints, disputes and disagreements regarding the equitable and/or impartial application of OIG policies and procedures and providing feed-back of such systemic problems, issues, and complaints to the IG and senior management." The position will report directly to the Inspector General. Annual salary ranges from $93,107 to $157,412; applications are due November 17, 2008. (

This posting reflects the continued expansion of federal Ombuds programs.

Related posts:
Senate Bill Would Create DOD-Wide Ombuds Office; Inspector General Recommends Realignment of TSA Ombuds Program; Senate Approves Funding for New FOIA Ombuds Office; National Taxpayer Advocate Plans Study of Federal Ombuds; GAO Urges USDA to Hire Ombuds.

University of Washington Opens Internal Search for Ombuds

UW invites nominations and applications from faculty and staff for the position of University Ombuds. Candidates must have at a Master’s degree and at least 10 years of relevant experience at a leadership level in a higher education institution or equivalent setting. Priority will be given to candidates who apply by November 10, 2008. No salary indicated. (UW Job Posting.)

Related posts: Grad Student's Perspective on UW Visiting Ombuds; UW Faces Lawsuit Despite Mediation by Ombuds; UW Searching Internally for Ombuds.

Texas State University Appoints New Ombuds

The public university in San Marcos has named Walter E. Rudzinski, Ph.D., as University Ombudsman. Professor Rudzinski will serve a three-year appointment, through August 2011. Rudzinski has been a faculty member at Texas State since 1979 and recently served as Chair of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. (Appointment Letter.)

Employees Claim Retaliation After Complaints to Bristol-Myers Squibb Ombuds

Two research scientists sued the pharmaceutical company for employment discrimination, alleging, among other things, retaliation after they filed internal complaints with the Corporate Ombudsman. The federal court in Connecticut denied many claims, but allowed the retaliation claim and other causes of action to proceed. The issue of the Ombuds' role was not addressed in the court's decision. (Byra-Grzegorczyk v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 572 F. Supp. 2d 233, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63553 (D. Conn. 2008), available at