About Us

WHAT IS THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN?

The Ombudsman is an officer of the legislature who investigates complaints about actions of executive branch agencies of the state and county governments.  Our office has the power to obtain necessary information for an investigation and to recommend corrective action if a complaint is found to be substantiated.

The Ombudsman serves as a neutral, independent intermediary between the citizen and the agency. We conduct our investigations in a fair and impartial manner. We do not provide legal advice, nor do we serve as legal counsel, advocate, or representative on behalf of any person or agency.

 

WHAT CAN THE OMBUDSMAN DO?

* Independently and impartially investigate your complaint against state and county agencies.

* If our investigation reveals that the complaint is substantiated, we can attempt to resolve the problem with the agency.

We determine whether a complaint is substantiated by comparing an agency’s actions against what the law requires as well as the principles of sound, fair, and reasonable administrative practice.  We do not have the power to compel or reverse administrative actions but instead try to resolve substantiated complaints through recommendations and reasoned persuasion.

In addition to the resolution of individual complaints, if we find possible areas for improvement to make government work better, we will make recommendations for changes to the law, administrative rules, or operating procedures.

 

WHAT IS THE OMBUDSMAN’S JURISDICTION?

By law, the Ombudsman is authorized to investigate the administrative actions of state and county agencies.  We cannot investigate complaints about the governor and lieutenant governor and their staffs; the legislature and its staff; the judiciary and its staff; the various county mayors and councils; the federal government; a multistate governmental entity; or a nongovernmental entity.  We also cannot investigate public employee grievances covered by collective bargaining agreements.

The Office of the Ombudsman is established by Chapter 96 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.  To view the law, please click chapter 96.