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City of Portland

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Section 2-509. Office of the Ombudsman.

(a)  The Office of the Ombudsman is established within the Office of the Auditor.  The Office of the Ombudsman shall be under the supervision and control of the Auditor, who is solely responsible for its operation and management.  The purpose of the Ombudsman is to provide an impartial office, readily available to the public, that is authorized to investigate the administrative acts of City departments, bureaus and other administrative agencies, issue reports and recommend changes with the goals of safeguarding the rights of persons and promoting high standards of fairness, competency, efficiency and justice in the provision of City services.

(b)  The Auditor shall appoint and may remove the Ombudsman.

(c)  The Office of the Ombudsman shall be guided by generally accepted standards for government ombudsmen offices serving the public.

(d)  Pursuant to a complaint or on the Ombudsman’s own initiative, the Ombudsman is authorized to investigate any administrative act of a City department, bureau or other administrative agency, including the Office of the Auditor; recommend changes to City policy, practice or procedures; and issue public reports.

(e)  The Ombudsman shall not investigate the acts of an elected official or the official’s personal staff, matters currently in litigation, matters subject to collective bargaining agreement grievance procedures, or a discrimination complaint from an employee or applicant for employment.

(f)  Subject to collective bargaining obligations to the City’s recognized bargaining units, the Ombudsman shall have timely access to all employees, information and records required to investigate or otherwise perform the Ombudsman’s duties, including confidential and legally privileged information and records so long as privilege is not waived as to third parties.  The Ombudsman shall maintain the confidentiality of any confidential or legally privileged information and records except as required by state law or authorized by the City Council.

(g)  A City department, bureau and agency director or manager shall respond in writing to Ombudsman recommendations within the time specified by the Ombudsman.

(h)  The powers and duties of the Ombudsman may be further prescribed by ordinance in consultation with the Auditor.  The powers and duties of the Ombudsman shall not be exercised in contravention of any collective bargaining obligations of the City.

[Section added May 16, 2017, effective June 14, 2017.]