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Our Jurisdiction

Our Jurisdiction

Call 206-477-1050 voice|TTY
Fax 206-296-0948

Physical mail sent to the Ombuds Office may be delayed: 810 3rd Ave, Suite 705, Seattle, WA 98104

The Ombuds Office has jurisdiction to investigate complaints on the administrative actions of executive branch agencies, including the Departments of Assessments and Elections, and the Sheriff’s Office. The Ombuds' authority and jurisdiction are detailed in King County Code 2.52. 
We do not have the authority to investigate the administrative conduct of:

  • Members of the Metropolitan King County Council and their staff
  • The King County Executive and his/her personal staff
  • The Prosecuting Attorney and his/her staff
  • Judges and their staff
  • Any city, state, or federal agencies
  • Any private business or non-profit agency


Complaint Investigation and Resolution

We resolve most complaints by sharing information, providing assistance, facilitating communication, or referring the complaint to the appropriate agency. When we cannot resolve complaints in these ways, we may open a complaint investigation. At the conclusion of an investigation, we  summarize our analysis and send a formal communication to the agency or department director for review and response.

Complaint investigations seek to: 

(a) determine if the complaint was substantiated or unsubstantiated; 
(b) make recommendations to the department to improve practices or change policy; and 
(c) resolve the problem.


Problem-Solving Tips

Whether you are seeking service or filing a complaint, keep records of the contact you have with an agency or department. Record the names of the employees you speak with and include the date of your conversation. Keep copies of all documents you receive or provide the agency or department. Consider making a timeline; a chronological sequence of contacts and dates can help explain your problem to the agency or department.

Ask questions. Some good questions to ask:

  • Why was my request denied?
  • What law or policy applies?
  • Was the law or policy applied consistently?
  • What appeals process (if any) is available?

Be clear. Before you contact an agency, determine exactly what the problem is and what remedy you are hoping for. Clearly explain the issue and what you want.

Be persistent. Persist in your effort to resolve the issue. Ask to speak with a supervisor or manager if the staff person is unable to help you. Ask clear questions and focus on a resolution rather than only summarizing your frustration. Find out if the agency or department needs more information from you to help them better understand the problem and share it with them quickly.

If you need assistance, we are available to help with problem solving procedures and techniques.

 Alternate formats for persons with disabilities available upon request.