The man charged with listening to your complaints about other government agencies says the number of Iowans who contacted his office went up slightly. State Ombudsman Bill Angrick’s annual report says 42-hundred people called with complaints. Angrick says the concerns voiced in those complaints didn’t change much. He says historically the complaints have been about the corrections department, Department of Human Services child protection and child support issues.He says they also get “a fair amount” of complaints about local governments. Angrick says there are a variety of things his office can do — but the first is to see if the person complaining has tried other options. He says,”One of the things that we have as a philosophy is that we have a stronger citizenry is they’re able to identify and solve a problem themselves.” So he says they try to see if people have gone through the local process first before coming to the state. Angrick says they may ask a person to contact their local official or write a letter. He says, “Often times that allows the citizen to solve their own problem. But when that doesn’t happen, then we will pick up the phone, send an e-mail, write a letter, perhaps go visit an agency or site and see if we can get a resolution.” Many state and local governments now have websites and e-mail to contact elected officials. Angerick says he doesn’t have any direct evidence that this has help solve problems, but says it can’t hurt. He says they may have created a way of solving issues or answering questions before they become a problem. He says it’s difficult to speculate on how big an impact that might have, but he says it is a lot easier to contact government than it was years ago. You can find reach the Ombudsman’s office by calling toll-free at 888-426-6283.
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