Before Contacting the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman is the last resource for those who need help resolving a complaint involving a Snohomish County agency. It is highly recommended that the listed actions below be performed before contacting the Office of the Ombudsman.

  1. Establish the issue. Determine exactly what the problem is and what remedy you are seeking. Having a clear idea of what the issue is helps the agency and the Ombudsman understand what can be done to help resolve the issue.
  2. Talk to a supervisor. Ask to speak with a supervisor if the staff in an agency or department is unable to assist you. Be sure you are asking the right question and are focusing on a resolution, rather than just recounting the transgression. Find out if the agency needs any additional information from you that will help them better understand the problem, and diligently follow up.
  3. Ask questions. Asking questions may help you find a solution quickly. Here are some examples of the types of questions to ask:
    • Why was my request denied?
    • What law or policy applies?
    • Was the law or policy applied consistently?
    • What appeal process (if any) is available for me?
  1. Keep records. Whether you are seeking a service or filing a complaint, keep records of the contact(s) you have. Record the names of the staff people you speak with, and include the date of your conversation. Keep copies of all documents you receive or provide. A chronological sequence of contacts and dates is helpful in explaining and understanding your problem.