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Ombudsman Staff Attorney

  • 503099
  • PHOENIX
  • LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • Full-time

OMBUDSMAN-CITIZENS' AIDE

Ombudsman Staff Attorney
Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens' Aide Office (AZOCA)

Job Location:

Address:  7878 N. 16th Street, Suite 235

Phoenix, AZ 85020

Posting Details:

Salary:  DOE

Grade: 01

Closing Date: OTF

Job Summary:

The Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide Office (AZOCA) is a small, independent, and apolitical legislative agency. The agency has 10 full-time employees, two of whom are attorneys. The office’s primary function is to investigate complaints it receives about the administrative acts of State of Arizona agencies. While the agency often resolves complaints informally, on occasion, AZOCA produces public reports of its findings for particular investigations.

The Legislature has tasked the Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide Office with emphasizing Department of Child Safety matters. As a result, a plurality of Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide office activity concerns the Department of Child Safety.

Additionally, the Legislature has assigned the Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide Office special authority regarding public access, specific to public records law and open meeting law. The agency’s jurisdiction concerning these two areas of law extends to complaints about local government, such as counties, school districts, municipalities, and special taxing districts. The agency also provides training and education about these two areas of law to public officials and the general public.

Job Duties:

Duties:

  • 1. The ombudsman staff attorney is a professional level investigator/attorney who is responsible for helping the ombudsman to address citizen inquiries and complaints.
  • 2. In addition to normal ombudsman duties, the incumbent is one of the two attorneys responsible for developing and implementing an education program to increase awareness by governmental officials and the public of the government's obligation to provide public access to records and meetings. The incumbent will also prepare and distribute interpretative and educational materials to public officials and the public.
  • 3. The incumbent shall assist the ombudsman and deputy ombudsman in the preparation of annual reports, investigation reports, and other written analyses and material.
  • 4. When appropriate, the incumbent recommends statutory changes concerning report findings to the state legislature.
  • 5. The incumbent serves as a legal resource and advisor for all staff of the ombudsman office.

Distinguishing characteristics:

  • 1. The ombudsman investigator/staff attorney has substantial responsibility for exercising judgment in handling complaints. Incumbents work under general direction. They accept complaints from the public and independently investigate a variety of complaints from moderate to difficult complexity. The complaints may involve a wide range of factual situations.
  • 2. The incumbent operates independently but under the overall direction of the ombudsman. The ombudsman staff attorney keeps the ombudsman informed of progress, potentially controversial matters, and the implications of the work performed.
  • 3. Assignments typically require the incumbent to make decisions based on substantial analysis and interpretation of relevant law. They may require identifying standards for situations in which no clear standards exist or in which the law is not clear. In these situations, the incumbent uses considerable independent judgment:
    • To analyze precedents and policies that may be applicable;
    • To adapt those precedents or policies to the specific case or problem; and
    • To select a proper conclusion or recommended course of action.

Examples of duties: The ombudsman investigator/staff attorney:

  • 1. Receives complaints and questions from the public, media, agency officials, and elected officials:
    • Conducts intake interviews to establish the basis of an allegation,
    • Responds to inquiries by mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, or personal contact,
    • Screens complaints for jurisdiction and appropriateness,
    • Explains office practices and procedures,
    • Recommends alternative referral resources,
  • 2. Prepares and implements a plan of investigation for each complaint to be investigated;
  • 3. Interviews complainants, witnesses, and agency personnel;
  • 4. Conducts legal research about the complaint by using appropriate sources such as:
    • Westlaw;
    • Arizona Administrative Code;
    • Law library facilities and materials;
    • Office resource files and agency policy and procedure manuals;
    • Appropriate online research engines;
    • Specialists in the subject area from other states and jurisdictions;
  • 5. Analyzes results of investigations, and prepares reports of findings and recommendations for ombudsman review and signature;
  • 6. Maintains proper investigative files, containing:
    • Case management system documents;
    • All evidentiary documents upon which the findings rely;
    • Notes and affidavits which substantiate witness testimony; and
    • Other written notes that are clear enough to permit an independent understanding of the work done in investigating the complaint.
    • A report which expresses cogent, articulate, and understandable conclusions for the target audience; and
    • Relevant recommendations.
  • 7. Coordinates results of investigations with appropriate administrators and complainants.
  • 8. Travels to Arizona communities: receives complaints, speaks to groups, and teaches citizens how to resolve problems with government.
  • 9. Exercises and maintains the security and confidentiality of office matters and materials as required by law.
  • 10. Advises the ombudsman and staff of the office. Analyzes legal problems, formulates interpretations, and makes recommendations to assist ombudsman staff members.
  • 11. Periodically may make speeches or appearances on behalf of the ombudsman.
  • 12. Periodically may attend or participate in workshops, seminars, or conferences to maintain or expand expertise in governmental law and administration.
  • 13. Pursuant to law, the Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide Office is apolitical. Therefore, aside from registering with a political party, voting, and having a private opinion, no employee of the ombudsman office may be involved in political or partisan activities.
  • 14. Performs other duties as assigned.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities (KSAs):

An incumbent in this position:

  • 1. Should have a working knowledge of the organization and operation of Arizona state government, ombudsman practices and procedures, and business English;
  • 2. Should be detail-oriented, patient, and a good listener.
  • 3. Must be able to exercise initiative and work with little supervision.
  • 4. Should be able to:
    • (a) Communicate effectively to a wide audience as evidenced by sound writing skills, an excellent command of the English language, and the ability to change styles to fit the target audience;
    • (b) Work with individuals in personal stress and crises or confrontational situations as evidenced by the ability to maintain control of an interview and elicit factual information;
    • (c) Understand and master word and data processing programs and equipment;
    • (d) Conduct legal research of statute and case law, including the use of Westlaw;
    • (e) Conduct fair and impartial investigations, as evidenced by the ability to:
      • Gather and analyze information and data with attention to detail,
      • Reason logically and accurately,
      • Read and comprehend state and local laws, regulations, legal opinions, administrative interpretations, policy and procedure manuals, and similar resource material,
      • Define allegations and issues and accurately summarize the various positions and the merits of each,
      • Identify and describe the standards, against which the agency's performance is measured,
      • Describe and apply investigative techniques appropriate to the complaint under investigation,
      • Initiate and complete investigations without bias and present written reports detailing findings supported by clear and convincing evidence,
      • Suggest practical and effective solutions;
    • (f) Work under pressure and demonstrate flexibility and diversity within a changing work environment;
    • (g) Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with other employees and with persons contacted in the course of work;
Pre-Employment Requirements:
  • Minimum qualifications: A Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school and an active Arizona State Bar license in good standing. Preferred relevant experience may include:
  • 1. Experience in administrative law, public records law, open meeting law, child safety matters, and/or bodies of law governing one or more state agencies.
  • 2. Professional experience in administration, management analysis, research, or planning relating to administrative acts of state or local level government agencies.
  • 3. Investigatory experience.
  • 4. Report writing experience.
  • 5. Experience working with constituents and government officials in a government setting.
Benefits:

The State of Arizona offers a comprehensive benefits package to include:

  • Sick leave
  • Vacation with 10 paid holidays per year
  • Health and dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Life insurance and long-term disability insurance
  • Optional employee benefits include short-term disability insurance, deferred compensation plans, and supplemental life insurance

For a complete list of benefits provided by The State of Arizona, please visit our benefits page

Retirement:
  • ASRS
Contact Us:
  • If you have any questions please feel free to contact dwells@azoca.gov or at 602.277.7292 for assistance.

ARIZONA MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (AMS)

All Arizona state employees operate within the Arizona Management System (AMS), an intentional, results-driven approach for doing the work of state government whereby every employee reflects on performance, reduces waste, and commits to continuous improvement with sustainable progress.  Through AMS, every state employee seeks to understand customer needs, identify problems, improve processes, and measure results.  
State employees are highly engaged, collaborative and embrace a culture of public service.

The State of Arizona is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.