How do Ombudsman staff handle issues?
Ombudsman staff will receive notice of an issue and will:
- Conduct informal fact-finding
- Educate the constituent on channels of redress and Ombudsman process
- Use tools of shuttle diplomacy, coaching or facilitating a meeting to address issues and find resolution
- Provide options, with pros and cons, to the MnDOT Commissioner for final determination
- Report the decision back to the constituent
What does it mean to be neutral?
Neutrality means that the Ombudsman's role is not to advocate for any one individual but to advocate for a fair process. The Ombudsman's practice is to listen to all sides of a story and try to help the individuals find creative solutions or check facts to resolve the issue. The Ombudsman's role is not to pass judgment but to help the parties move forward to resolution.
What does it mean to be informal?
The Ombudsman is not a formal or legal option that produces records, makes binding decisions or protects rights granted by a system or organization. By taking an issue to the Ombudsman, visitors should expect that informal processes like listening, brainstorming, clarifying, facilitating, shuttle diplomacy and reality testing will take place as options to help resolve an issue.
What does it mean to be independent?
The Ombudsman reports directly to the MnDOT Commissioner. This structural set up is important in order to ensure the Ombudsman is independent from other department entities and has sole discretion on the manner in which he/she goes about fact finding or creating options for resolution. The Ombudsman holds no other role inside the organization which could indirectly influence neutrality.