Ombudsmen give voice to citizens' concerns when no one else in government will hear them. They seek first to understand, and, if merited, to remedy the situation or to render some other form of assistance.
Onbudsman-like positions have also existed in situations such as private or public hospital settings. Police auditors would be another example of an ombudsman-like position.
One of the major problems with ombudsmen positions in the past is that their funds are usually paid for by the organization or agency for which they serve as ombudsmen, and their supervision comes purely from within the organization or agency for which they serve as ombudsmen. This, of course, largely neutralizes any opportunity they may have for educating the people in the agency as to citizen or consumer concerns or to be taken seriously in general. In addition, many ombudsmen are selected because they are regarded as favoring the agency which they are to serve in, rather than because they are trained, educated or familiar with the functions of that agency.
Various consumer and voter organizations have sprung up over the years to fill this vacuum, with varying success. Some journalists and politicians have tried to fill this vacuum.
It seems that President Obama is uniquely positioned in time to serve as the U.S. Ombudsman-in-Chief. What would be the best way for him to fulfill that role, and what suggestions would you have for him?
Edited by fuzzywuzzy6, 08 March 2009 - 06:31 PM.