The leader of the state agency that investigates complaints against other government agencies says the number of issues addressed in the past year didn’t change much. State Ombudsman Bill Angrick in his annual report on 2003 lists just over 36-hundred complaints. He says the agencies involved in the complaints have been similar for the last decade or so. He says they get a lot of complaints about the corrections department, human services issue — child protection, child support — and lots of complaints about county government. State agencies have stressed better customer service in recent years. Angrick says it’s working for some and not for others. He says it’s mixed. He says a lot of it depends on the leadership of the agencies. Angrick says public service is a top priority for some government officials, but it’s not at the top of the list for others. Angrick admits some of the agencies have wanted to do more, but are hampered by lack of funds.He says the biggest problem they see is that government is underresourced. He says they don’t have the staff or the financial resources to do some of the things they’ve been able to do in the past. Angrick says his office doesn’t try to nail down the issue of right or wrong in complaints — they try to come up with a solution that helps.He says they call it an assist or fix without underscoring who’s to blame. He says if they see patterns of complaints about an agency over time, then they try to determine if there needs to be more significant fixing. Angrick says you should try to help yourself first before calling his office. He says they ask that people try to resolve their issues with the agency first. He says if you haven’t gone to the Mayor or city council first, he’ll probably tell you to do so. Angrick says it you get to a point where you don’t feel the problem is getting solved, then you should call. The Ombudsman’s services are free.
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