“Ombudsman” is a word of Swedish origin, used to designate someone whose ear was open to the people and was sympathetic to the public’s concerns. The Office of the Ombudsman was created in 2010 to address the Department’s needs for Alternative Dispute Resolution. In 2012, the Office of the Ombudsman was expanded to create the Workplace Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center (wCPRc), allowing the office to increase its breadth of services for Department employees.
The office is notable for its independent structure; the Ombudsman reports to the Secretary and is not affiliated with any other bureau or office. The Office of the Ombudsman does not intervene in any issues relating to HR complaints, EEO claims, Union Grievances, or IG matters. The Ombudsman’s office is dedicated to the principles of independence, neutrality, confidentiality, and informality in all of its practices.
Shireen L. Dodson was appointed to the Ombudsman position at the time of the office’s inception in 2010, and has served as the office’s head since. Ms. Dodson has over 30 years experience working with nonprofits, corporate America, government, and is a trained mediator and executive coach. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland and her Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School, Newark, New Jersey. In July 2008, Ms. Dodson became a Cornell Certified Diversity Professional (CCDP) from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Employees can access more information about the Office of the Ombudsman and our services site via the intranet.