The Need for an Ombudsman in State Government

Despite the vast powers which have been delegated to state administrative agencies, comparatively little attention has been paid to their organization or methods of operation. As a result, some state agencies in their day-to-day operations fail to meet desirable standards of fair procedure. Each year, thousands of American citizens emerge indignant from an encounter with some agency representative who they assert has treated them impolitely or denied them what they deem to be their rights. But often the case does not involve enough to justify the expense of taking it to court, and the outraged citizen fumes in frustration, concluding dejectedly that “it’s not worthwhile trying to fight city hall.” To cure this unhappy situation, a governmental mechanism which is new to America but which has worked well for more than one hundred years in some European countries (which have had a much longer experience with administrative law) is now being seriously considered by the legislatures of several states.