Skip to main content

About the Office of the Ombuds

Learn more about what the Office of the Ombuds does and its jurisdiction.

What we do

We investigate complaints from the public and King County employees about county departments. We're an independent office within the legislative branch of county government. Voters created the office with the County Home Rule Charter of 1968. Our authorization comes from King County Code 2.52 (96KB).

We resolve most complaints without an investigation.

What we investigate 

The purpose of an investigation

  • Determine if a complaint is valid or unsubstantiated 
  • Recommend improvements to department practices or changes to its policies
  • Resolve the problem

Investigations conclude with a summary of our findings. We send the summary to the department for review and response.

Our mission

Promote confidence in county government by responding to complaints from the public. We respond in an impartial, efficient, and timely manner. We contribute to improved government operations by making recommendations based on our investigations.

Our jurisdiction

Departments we have the authority to investigate

  • Assessors
  • Elections
  • Sheriff’s Office

Departments and others that we can't investigate

  • Members of the County Council and their staff
  • The County Executive and their staff
  • The Prosecuting attorney and their staff
  • Judges and their staff
  • City, state, or federal agencies
  • Private businesses or non-profit agencies