Seeking Resolution with the Office of the Public Advocate

What kind of inquiries does the Public Advocate’s Office take?

The County Public Advocate can consider inquiries surrounding administrative acts that are:

  • Contrary to county law or regulation
  • Based on mistaken facts or irrelevant considerations
  • Services 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 function
  • Improper in motivation or based on irrelevant considerations

After contacting the Public Advocate, what are the next steps?

If your issue has been through the proper appeals process with the administrative agency involved, an investigation by the Office of the Public Advocate may be deemed appropriate.

It is important to remember every investigation is different and varies by the type of complaint issued. If an investigation is planned and conducted, a primary report could be issued to the agency involved for response. Once the agency’s response to the findings and recommendations is complete, the Public Advocate will conclude the investigation with both parties involved. View how a typical process works.

Is the Public Advocate an attorney?

The Public Advocate is not an attorney. The office cannot take legal action against a county agency on behalf of an individual. The Public Advocate’s concern is whether the policy, procedure, or law an agency applied to an individual’s case is open, ethical, consistent, and fair.

  • The Public Advocate cannot provide legal advice.
  • The Public Advocate cannot change or reverse an agency decision

The Public Advocate cannot 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