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Ombuds News

by Jeff Thompson
January 2010

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson
Questioning The Australian (NSW) Ombudsman

Does it Help Minority University Students in Australia?
The role of the Ombudsman is ‘to safeguard the rights of citizens by establishing a supervisory agency independent of the executive branch’. Unlike Sweden – where an Ombudsman was first established in 1809 –, in Australian, the Ombudsman is a tool of the executive branch to legitimate and protect corruption and maladministration......
The Australia Ombudsman is a government-funded office. The claim that it acts “independently” is a shame. The Ombudsman lacks impartiality and honesty. Its primary aim is to act against public interest by protecting the government and its agencies and cover-up maladministration. The annual Ombudsman report which often publishes few investigated cases is a fraud designed to mislead the public. In addition, having an Ombudsman protects Australia’s manufactured image....
When the student made a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman against the unfair and rather racist conduct of the University of Western Sydney, the Ombudsman took its time and never consulted with the student.Read the full opinion article by Ghali Hassan from CounterCurrents.org [here].

TDSB trustee decries plan for board ombudsman
'Clear Conflict'

Outspoken trustee Josh Matlow is attacking a proposal by Toronto District School Board chief Chris Spence to introduce an ombudsman who reports to the education director, and not the board.
"If the ombudsman is reporting to the very institution that he or she is being asked to oversee and which pays their salary and budget, there's a clear conflict and also, at the very least, it creates an appearance of bias," said Mr. Matlow, who is lobbying the TDSB to instead ask the province to allow school boards to fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial ombudsman, Andre Marin.

Full article [here]

NPR Ombudsman: Tea-Bag Cartoon is 'Mean-Spirited,' Lacks NPR's 'Core Values' of Civility
On Friday, NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard reported a flood of angry calls and e-mails from conservatives about the NPR website’s "How to Speak Tea Bag" cartoon. Shepard found "there are problems with the Tea Bag animation." For example:
Chief among them is it doesn't fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse. [Cartoonist Mark] Fiore is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn't broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks.

Full article [here]

Sourcing of Article Awkward For Paper
Facing criticism for publishing the work of a start-up news organization, The Washington Post said Tuesday that it should have disclosed more about the group’s financier and his connections, and the paper’s ombudsman said he was looking into the relationship.
The start-up, The Fiscal Times, covers economic issues, with a particular focus on the
federal budget, the growing deficit and efforts to rein in health care and Social Security spending. Its financing was provided by Peter G. Peterson, the billionaire investment banker who advocates deficit reduction and restrictions on entitlement programs.
On Dec. 31, The Post published the first news article produced by The Fiscal Times, a report on the support in Washington for a proposed deficit-reduction commission. The primary expert quoted in the article is from the Concord Coalition, whose mission is also balanced budgets and limits on safety-net spending.

Full article [here]

Tom Frazier: So ... what's it like being ombudsman?
In case you want to know, read more [here]

Ombudsman saving Paulding money and students
The Paulding County School District is realizing significant cost savings and improving the alternative education program for at-risk students, say school officials.
When the board approved a contract with Ombudsman Education Services to replace the alternative school operated by the district starting in August 2008, the goal was to realize cost savings of up to $700,000 per year while providing quality education for at-risk students.
Read more [here]

University Of Louisville To Create Ombuds Office
Robert Felner, former University of Louisville dean of education, pleaded guilty Friday to nine federal charges, including income tax evasion, and agreed to serve 63 months in prison in connection with defrauding U of L and another university of $2.3 million.
...UofL acknowledges mistakes were made, and noted the university has taken several steps to fix problems identified by the investigation, including a revamping of its grievance process, review of faculty governance procedures and creation of an Ombuds Office to address faculty concerns and complaints. “The university has owned up to its mistakes and we're ready to move on,” he said.
Full article [here]

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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