Guiding Principles

The Ombuds is a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and follows the IOA’s guiding principles:

Independent - The Office of the Ombuds reports directly to the Board and is not part of another department. The Ombuds position is outside of all regular chains of authority and reporting responsibility. An Ombuds emphasizes fairness in seeking solutions to problems.

Neutral/Impartial - The Office of the Ombuds will not take sides or advocate any particular position. Instead, we collaborate to find options with the best possible outcome for all involved. We advocate for fairness and a fair process. The Office of the Ombuds is an agent for change.

Confidential - The Office of the Ombuds is firmly committed to maintaining the confidentiality of those who use its services and keeps all information confidential to the extent allowed by law and provided no risk of injury is of concern. The identity of those who contact the Ombuds and information presented to the Ombuds will NOT be passed on to other parties without the express permission of the visitor. In the event information is shared that infringes on the legal rights or safety of others, such information may be shared with staff anonymously to ensure the matter is addressed. The Ombuds will provide a safe forum for discussing concerns. 

Informal - The Office of the Ombuds is a place to explore informal options and work for collaborative resolutions. This helps to provide more freedom to consider options and psychological safety. Communication with the Ombuds does not put the county "on notice" of a problem. The Ombuds advises about the process and options of resolution consistent with Board policies, regulations or negotiated agreements. Use of the service is free, voluntary, and not a required step in any procedure.