When appropriate, you can File A Complaint from our online form. Read on below.
The following information is a guide to how best to proceed if you feel you have been treated unfairly by a state administrator, or if you find yourself in a disagreement or dispute with a state agency, department, board or commission, or if you have disputes with local government agencies regarding public access laws.
How the Ombudsman can help you with a complaint
Try to resolve it at the agency, take notes, and make copies
Follow these best practice recommendations for more positive results:
- Be pleasant and decent. Treat workers with respect and courtesy. Act in accordance with the Golden Rule to “treat others as you wish to be treated.”
- Be patient. Research takes time. Workers must juggle many tasks and time demands.
- Be persistent. Give workers a reasonable amount of time, and then check back.
- Prepare. Gather data and material to explain and exhibit the situation logically.
- Outline or summarize your main points.
- Read what agencies send you and be mindful of directions and deadlines.
- Ask to elevate if the lower level people do not understand you.
- An oral complaint might be quick to solve a problem, but if it does not yield results, then file a written complaint. Spend time explaining yourself. Be professional. Cite exhibits when possible. A written complaint allows for a more thoughtful, reasoned approach AND gives you the benefit of evidence that an oral complaint does not.
- Exercise your appeal rights and be mindful of time deadlines.
- Always save a copy of correspondence and all relevant records!
Check that your dispute is something we can help with.
We CAN examine:
- Administrative acts of most state agencies
- Public record concerns involving the state, counties, cities, towns, school districts, political subdivisions, or special taxing districts and any branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council, or committee thereof.
- Open meeting concerns involving the state, counties, cities, towns, school districts, political subdivisions, or special taxing districts and any branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council, or committee thereof.”
We CANNOT examine:
- Federal Agencies
- Cities, counties, school districts, or special districts (except in the case of public access)
- The judicial branch (including attorneys, judges and other court officials)
- Elected officials at any level of government
- Colleges and universities
- Homeowner Associations (HOAs)
- Private parties, Nonprofits, Companies/corporations
- Long-term care facilities
When we would otherwise have jurisdiction we do not review complaints in the following situations
- We cannot follow up on complaints from third party persons. This means a neighbor, a brother, or a concerned citizen cannot file a complaint on behalf of the person being effected by the problem without a power of attorney.
- We cannot take complaints from, or on behalf of, Arizona Department of Corrections prisoners.
- We do not look in to untimely complaints, where an unreasonable amount of time has passed since the issue at hand.
Complain to the Ombudsman Office
Please contact our office and describe your problem. You may use our electronic complaint form, but it is not required.
The Arizona Ombudsman office will listen to your complaint. We are here to help.
Aiding Citizens: How We Help
The Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide office provides a unique service because we offer objectivity to citizens who complain when they think Arizona government has treated them unfairly. The first thing our investigators do is listen to the person’s complaint. For some people, this is the first time they feel that anyone in government actually hears them. Then we determine the nature of the dispute and respond in the most appropriate way to resolve the issue.