Public Counsel (Ombudsman's Office)
Julie L. Rogers, Public Counsel/Ombuds
The Office of the Public Counsel promotes accountability in government by independently and impartially investigating issues related to state agencies and employees.
The office is known as the State Ombudsman's Office, which investigates citizen complaints about state government and works toward resolution of issues. Accountability in public administration is promoted by resolving these complaints against state agencies and investigating issues related to the operation of state government, with limited exceptions, and making recommendations for improvement. Because the office is independent of the agencies that it investigates, it is impartial in disputes between administrative agencies and citizens, and promotes reasonable and informal resolution of citizen grievances.
The Office of Public Counsel also conducts investigations under the State Government Effectiveness Act, also known as the Whistleblower Act. State employees are encouraged to disclose information concerning possible violations of law, fraud, waste, and mismanagement in state government. Reprisals for such disclosures are prohibited.
Within the Office of Public Counsel are two additional offices providing state government oversight—the Office of Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare and the Office of Inspector General of the Nebraska Correctional System. The Inspectors General work to provide increased accountability, oversight, and improvement of the state's child welfare, juvenile justice, and correctional systems by conducting formal investigations and reviews.
In addition to handling complaints and conducting investigations, the Office of Public Counsel—the Ombudsman’s Office and Inspectors General—are important resources to the Legislature.