Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Despite Attorney General’s Opinion, Ombudsman’s Office Available To Assist Union Members

The Nebraska Legislature’s Office of the Public Counsel, better known as the Ombudsman’s Office, exists to promote accountability in government by independently and impartially investigating issues related to state agencies and employees. NAPE/AFSCME members can report violations of law, fraud, waste, and mismanagement in state government under the State Government Effectiveness Act, also known as the Whistleblower Act.

In August 2023, Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers issued an opinion that the Ombudsman’s Office is unconstitutional. Some state agencies, such as Corrections and DHHS, have since limited information being provided directly to the Ombudsman’s office.

NAPE/AFSCME members should know that despite this opinion from the Attorney General, the Ombudsman’s office, which also houses the Inspector General for Corrections and the Inspector General for Child Welfare, is still operating as usual and is available to assist state employees. It is especially important that a state employee first report concerns of fraud, waste, and law violations to the Ombudsman so that whistleblower protection is applied.

Not all concerns are appropriate for the Ombudsman. Concerns regarding general poor management, issues with supervisors, and contract violations are not something the Ombudsman is able to assist with. Often, our union contract has protections to enforce your rights. When in doubt, contact NAPE/AFSCME to discuss your concerns, and our union representatives will help assist you.

It is important to address your concerns immediately. It’s a good idea to reach out to your union representative when you face an issue at work that needs to be addressed or reported. If we aren’t the right person to address your concerns, we’ll offer assistance to get you to the right place, such as the Ombudsman’s office.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees