The National Partnership for Highway Quality has awarded the Minnesota Department of Transportation Ombudsman's Office the Silver Award for “Making A Difference - Breaking the Mold.” The Mn/DOT Ombuds program was established in 2008 in the wake of the 35W Bridge collapse and the decline of public trust in the public agency. The office help resolve conflict in a fair and timely manner, and identifies opportunities to close gaps in policies or practices that may not be contributing to the department's overall mission. Debra Ledvina is the Mn/DOT Ombudsman.
NPHQ Executive Director Bob Templeton said, “The leadership provided by Mn/DOT’s Ombudsman’s office exemplifies the objective of NPHQ’s awards program, focusing attention on improvements and innovation that demonstrate continuous quality improvement for the nation’s highways.” NPHQ also noted that the Mn/DOT Ombuds program has helped district engineers and other Mn/DOT staff work with the public on issues, eliminated the need to rework or delay projects, saved time and use that time in other, more effective ways and prevented impediments to future projects. During 2009, 89 percent of the cases brought to this office were resolved. (NPHQ Press Release.)