Complaints

What complaints does the Ombudsman’s Office take?
 The County Ombudsman can consider an administrative act that may be:
(defined in SCC 2.11.120):
• Contrary to county law or regulation;
• Based on mistaken facts or irrelevant considerations;
• Inefficiently performed;
• Unclear or inadequately explained when reasons should have been revealed;
• Unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or inconsistent with the general course of an administrative agency’s functioning;
• Improper in motivation or based on irrelevant considerations; or
• Otherwise objectionable. 

I made a complaint.  Now what?
If members of the public are uncertain about which Snohomish County department or office to contact, the Ombudsman will attempt to redirect them to an appropriate agency representative. This office will review complaints about administrative acts of county agencies, and attempt to resolve those complaints, or determine possible alternatives to resolution.

What can’t the Ombudsman do?
The Ombudsman cannot take legal action against a county agency on behalf of an individual. We cannot provide legal advice. We cannot change or reverse an agency decision. Our concern is whether the policy, procedure, or law and agency applied to an individual’s case is consistent and fair. Most complaints, however, can be resolved through a fact-finding effort with the agency.
We do not have authority to investigate the administrative conduct of:
• Members or staff of the County Council
• The Snohomish County Executive and his/her personal staff
• The Prosecuting Attorney or his/her staff
• The Judicial Branch of County government
• Any governmental entity other than Snohomish County
• Any private business or non-profit organization 
• An issue about which you have an appeal in process, or are currently taking court (legal) action  

Complaint Investigation and Resolution
The Ombudsman's Office is not an office of first recourse. We recommend that members of the public first try to resolve their complaint with the appropriate department or office before contacting the Ombudsman. Please refer to the Problem Solving Tips for some pointers.