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Before Appointing an Ombudsman

Before appointing an ombudsman, selecting a qualified candidate who can successfully carry out the required ombudsman duties and responsibilities is vitally important. Understanding the requirements and process before appointing an ombudsman will help to assure success.

Commanding officers may appoint as many command ombudsmen as they choose. Many like to have at least two ombudsmen to ensure accessibility, and to share and allocate responsibilities. The following are minimum guidelines:

  • 1 – 250 command personnel : at least one ombudsman.
  • 250 – 1000 command personnel : 2 - 3 ombudsmen.
  • 1000 + command personnel : 4 + ombudsmen.

NOTE: Small commands having few family members, or tenant com­mands, may arrange with one or more other commands, or the installation command, to share the ombudsman services of the other or host command (OPNAVINST 1750.1G).

An ombudsman is the spouse of an active duty or Selected Reserve member of the command, enlisted or officer. This requirement can be waived if, after a diligent search, no appropriate spouse volunteer is available. See OPNAVINST 1750.1G, Enclosure (1) and Ombudsman Waiver Request for guidance on submitting a waiver request.

The ombudsman needs to be viewed by the command families as accessible, approachable and functional. An ombudsman with several years of Navy life experience will acclimate more easily and have greater credibility. Look for an individual with the desired attributes and experience who has the potential to develop into a highly-qualified and effective ombudsman. For a list of desired attributes when selecting ombudsman candidates, see Ombudsman Qualities and Attributes

When recruiting, it is vital to illustrate the significant role the ombudsman fulfills for the command as well as emphasize the command’s support of the program. Recruitment strategies include word of mouth, announcements within the command (at quarters, POD), announcements to spouses on the command Web site, at FRG meetings, and by email or direct mail. See Ombudsman Recruitment Strategies for more information on recruiting an ombudsman.

The position announcement should include information about eligibility, duties, application process and deadline. In addition to being factual, it must be eye-catching and appealing to potential candidates. See a sample Position Announcement.

The candidate may be asked to submit a resume, or a simple application/questionnaire may be used when applying.

The interview may be the most crucial part of the selection process. The interview should be objective and structured, and all information should be documented. The selecting official may interview the candidate alone or may ask another member of the Command Support Team (command master chief (CMC), executive officer (XO), current ombudsman, etc.) to assist in the selection process.

The purpose of the interview is to obtain information from the candidate relevant to his/her ability to be a competent ombudsman. For suggestions for a successful interview, see Ombudsman Interview Questions

A position description provides guidelines on the duties of the position and performance expectations and should be shared with the applicant at the interview. Commanding officers should tailor the ombudsman responsibili­ties to fit the specific needs of their command. Therefore, position descriptions vary slightly from command to command.

Interview questions should focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities re­quired to perform the desired duties. All candidates should be asked the same questions in the same order and format. The questions should be open-ended and encourage the candidate to talk.Ombudsman Interview Questions contains sample questions which should be supplemented with questions that address any unique command needs or requirements.

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