IG – your ombudsman in fixing what’s wrong

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Michael Kirkpatrick
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Inspector General

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- “Om” – “Buds” – “Man.”

“Om” – “Buds” – “Man.”

When said slowly you can almost hear the 1995 Super Bowl XXIX Budweiser Frogs sitting on their swampy log and saying the word -- ombudsman.

What is an ombudsman?

An ombudsman is “a government official appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against other government officials regarding abuses or capricious acts, investigates reported complaints, reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable resolution of complaints.” At least, that’s what it says in Air Force Instruction 90-301, “Inspector General Complaints Resolution.”

Your wing Inspector General – that’s me -- is your ombudsman. 

I work independent of all supervisors on the base, except one -- the wing commander.  As your ombudsman, I am the wing commander’s eyes and ears to keep him informed of systemic problems throughout the wing, especially those affecting morale, efficiency and mission effectiveness. 

I work on your behalf to assist you with your problem.

What types of things can you bring to me?

Practically anything. But specifically, non-frivolous allegations of wrongdoing, or problems that prevent you from accomplishing your job.

As your ombudsman, I take all types of complaints and then determine the best path to a resolution.  Some issues I can handle directly. Some I will refer you to the office that can best resolve your problem – like Patient Advocacy or Equal Opportunity example.

The first question I will ask is, “Have you talked with your supervisor?” Your supervisor is always the best first step in resolving issues.    

You can bring your concern to me through any medium you want -- email, phone, in-person and even anonymously.

The best way is by submitting an Air Force Form 102, “IG Personal and Fraud, Waste and Abuse Complaint Registration.” This form covers the five W’s of the issue – who, what, when, where and why.

An AF Form 102 is good for initiating a complaint because it is in your own words, which helps prevent misinterpretation. You can find the form on the Air Force IG webpage and the Air Force e-publishing webpage.

My job is to help you resolve your problem and get you back to the mission. But I can only help you if you report the problem.

Our communications are protected and no one can prevent you from coming to me or take action against you if you do. That protection comes from Title 10 United States Code 1034, and AFI 90-301. Violators can be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

For you, “Om” – “Buds” – “Man” has nothing to do with singing amphibians or frosty beverages. It is all about a non-biased, fact-finding honest broker intent on resolving your complaints.

It is all about your Inspector General.